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This year, 1989, marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of mechanical restraints at the Hanwell Asylum. It was, of course, John Conolly who carried out this large-scale experiment in the application of non-restraint at Hanwell. He was in charge of the diagnosis and treatment of the 800-odd pauper lunatics in this, the largest of the county asylums. Most of his patients had been insane for many years before their admission to Hanwell from the parish workhouses. The prospects of curing them were slim: Hanwell had the second lowest cure rate among the county asylums, a meagre 6% for the period 1835–1845 (Conolly, 1847).
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