By J. Hamlett
At domestic within the establishment examines area and fabric tradition in asylums, accommodation homes and colleges in Victorian and Edwardian England, and explores the strong impact of domesticity on all 3 institutional varieties.
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Additional info for At Home in the Institution: Material Life in Asylums, Lodging Houses and Schools in Victorian and Edwardian England
Occasional tables, ornaments and drapery have multiplied. Benches and upright Windsor chairs have for the most part been replaced by heavily upholstered armchairs, sprung for comfort, sheltering plump footrests. 31 This move simultaneously aligned the rooms with the elite and helped personalise institutional space. Elite institutions for treating mental health disorder created gendered spaces along the lines of those in middle- and upper-class homes.
Patients could be allowed to cherish small objects. While inmates were forced together in the associated dormitories and wards, this close spatial relationship could sometimes lead to friendship. For a small minority, usually the old and vulnerable, the asylum genuinely became a home – and offered a respite from the world outside. 2 Asylums for the Middle and Upper Classes In 1876, Herman C. Merivale was brought as a patient to Ticehurst, an establishment often considered the crème de la crème of privately-run asylums.
173 The inmates who did not want to leave were usually older women who feared the struggle to support themselves when they returned to the outside world. In 1846, Fanny P. 174 Mary M. entered Hanwell in 1847 – and repeatedly became ill when the subject of her discharge was brought up. By June 1849, she was considered quite well but ‘reluctant to leave the asylum. 177 She was clearly better at this point, but in March 30 her notes state: ‘she does not appear to like the idea of leaving the asylum’.