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The History of an Experiment in dealing with the Reported Cases of Insanity occurring in the Barony Parish of Glasgow

  • John Carswell (a1)

The Barony parish of Glasgow has a population of about 320,000. The care of the lunatics chargeable to the parish has engaged the attention of the Board ever since its formation in 1845. Various circumstances have contributed to make the experience of the Barony parish, in relation to lunacy, exceptionally valuable. Unlike most of the other parishes in Scotland the Barony Board has always provided asylum accommodation for its lunatics; it has never been dependent upon a District Board of Lunacy for that purpose. Although at one stage of their history pressed to hand over their asylum to the then existing Glasgow District Board of Lunacy, the Barony Board declined to do so, on the ground mainly that, on account of the largeness of the population and the rateable value of the parish, the Parochial Board was better suited to be entrusted with the management of the arrangements for the care and treatment of its pauper lunatics than a District Board of Lunacy, which had a wider area to provide for, and different interests to consult; and further the Barony Board held that the double management involved in having an asylum of their own along with their statutory obligation to provide for the due certification and maintenance of the pauper insane was a distinct advantage to a Parochial Board, inasmuch as it provided the material for a more complete view of the lunacy requirements of the parish, and gave the members of the Board a greater interest in questions connected with the care and treatment of the insane. In the early years of its management the Board provided for its pauper lunatics in asylum wards connected with the poorhouse at Barnhill. That arrangement was never considered satisfactory by the General Board of Lunacy; but the Parochial Board considered the arrangement quite satisfactory, and opposed the views of the Lunacy Commissioners. Ultimately, however, the Lunacy Commissioners got their views accepted by the Parochial Board, and they determined to build a new asylum at Woodilee, Lenzie. Probably the arguments of the Commissioners were less potent than the rapid increase of patients, caused by a great growth in the population of the parish, in bringing about the new departure. With the erection of the new asylum the Barony Board entered upon what may be called a new era in its relation to lunacy administration, for it soon became evident that it was performing the functions both of a Parochial Board and a District Board of Lunacy. That position ultimately received legislative sanction, and so the parish is now a lunacy district, and the Asylum Committee of the Board is practically, though not in name, a District Board of Lunacy.

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Paper read at a Divisional Meeting of the Association in Scotland, held at Glasgow, March 8th, 1894.

The number of cases sent in the first instance to the observation wards and afterwards certified and removed to the asylum represent an annual average of seven. These cases, however, are included in the number stated to have been certified insane, as given in the tabular statement.

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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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The History of an Experiment in dealing with the Reported Cases of Insanity occurring in the Barony Parish of Glasgow

  • John Carswell (a1)
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