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Alleged Increase of Lunacy in Lincolnshire


The question of a new asylum was brought forward at a quarterly meeting of the Visitors held May 15th, at Bracebridge, by Alderman Lieutenant-Colonel Conway Gordon. He proposed that in view of the steady increase of lunacy in the county and the crowded state of the asylum, negotiations be opened with the County Council, suggesting the desirability of building another asylum. He stated that in 1855 the total number of lunatics was 526; in 1860, 642; in 1865, 795; in 1870, 922; in 1875, 937; in 1880, 988; in 1885, 1,040; while on January 1, 1890, the pauper lunatics in Lincolnshire reached 1,123, which the speaker called an astounding figure. It would seem as if the correctness of this designation would be sensibly affected by the increase or otherwise of the population, and yet when Alderman Sharpe naturally asked, “Can you give us the proportion to population ?” Colonel Gordon was unable to reply. Nor does it appear to have been thought important to ascertain whether this increase arose from a larger amount of occurring insanity at the present time, than in 1855. The answer to this question would also bear very decidedly upon the degree in which the numbers brought forward are “astounding.” We admit, however, that the practical question is how to make provision for the increased number of lunatics from whatever cause such increase may arise; but there is nothing particularly alarming in having to provide additional accommodation as years roll on, if the population increase, and if the number of recoveries and deaths are fewer than the admissions. When the Bracebridge Asylum was built in 1855, there were 262 patients; in 1860, 391; in 1865, 481; in 1870, 595; in 1875, 606; in 1880, 658; in 1885, 704; and on January 1, 1890, 731; of whom 59 were sent to other asylums. The question arose, were they to erect, as the Lunacy Commissioners recommended, an auxiliary asylum in the district, or were they to erect one in another part of the county? When the asylum was built it cost £54,071, including land, and since then £11,150 had been expended in enlargements. Colonel Gordon was in favour of another asylum being built in the Holland division of the county, so that the people of that district might manage their own lunatics in the locality where their friends would be able to visit them. An amendment was proposed by Mr. Dickenson to the effect that the House Committee be appointed to consider and report what should be done to increase the accommodation for the patients belonging to the county. This amendment was carried. We hope that the present county asylum will not be increased in size, and that if another institution is necessary, after making full use of workhouses for chronic cases, and boarding-out harmless patients at a fair remuneration to the cottagers wherever this is practicable, it will be erected in a distant part of the county. We also hope that someone will be found to take sufficient interest in the question whether the liability to become insane in Lincolnshire has really increased, to work out the statistics of lunacy in a careful manner.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Alleged Increase of Lunacy in Lincolnshire

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