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Bethlem Hospital: The history of the legendary institution for the mentally ill - Colin S. GaleAdd to Queue

  • Posted by : GreshamCollege

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970

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Bethlem Hospital was an integral part of London's charitable provision for the poor in medieval and early modern times. Hand in hand with public benevolence went great public interest in the objects of charity. Until 1770, the Hospital was open (at specified times of the week) to any member of the public who wished to see inside, and 'poor boxes' were strategically placed near the entrance for donations. Bethlem was by no means the only early modern hospital to permit this level of public access to its inner workings, but it is probably the best known for having done so. The memory of Bethlem's display of the misery of its patients for entertainment and gain is a powerful metaphor to this day. Bethlem Archivist Colin Gale will explore the reality behind this metaphor via written and pictorial sources from the Hospital's own archives and the published writings of visitors. The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-lost-hospitals-of-london-bethlem-hospital-worth-a-visit Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. http://www.gresham.ac.uk

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