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Page last updated at 06:38 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 07:38 UK
Lunatic London

Image from mental asylum

A new book, Bedlam, examines London's treatment of the insane over the centuries, from the founding of Bedlam to the establishment of Victorian institutions.

The Interior of Bedlam, from A Rake's Progress by William Hogarth, 1763. (McCormick Library, Northwestern University).

People used to visit Bedlam to see the lunatics - there were 96,000 visits in 1814. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Visitors were permitted to bring sticks to poke and enrage inmates.

Portrait of George III (Kean Collection/Getty Images)

George III suffered recurrent mental illness later in life. Although it baffled medical science at the time, it is now thought that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria

Scenes of debauchery and drunkenness in Gin Lane and Beer Street, London, circa 1751. Original Artwork: Engraving by Henry Adlard after William Hogarth.

Hogarth's Gin Lane - depicting 18th Century London - shows shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide.

1828: "The Just Upright Man is laughed to scorn". Job from the Old Testament. Plate 10 from William Blake"s Illustrations to the Book of Job

Poet and artist William Blake claimed he saw angels in Peckham Rye and claimed to experience visions throughout his life. Wordsworth said of him: "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad."

Richard Dadd

Richard Dadd, who died in 1886, was a painter noted for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural subjects. He murdered his father in 1843 and was committed to Bedlam.

London's Imperial War Museum, previously Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Cures for madness have included eating a roasted mouse. The Romans preferred drilling a hole in the patient's skull to release bad spirits. Leeching, vomiting and exorcism were also used.




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