Bethlem Royal Hospital

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Bethlem Royal Hospital

(bĕth`ləm), the oldest institution for the care and confinement of the mentally ill in England, and one of the oldest in Europe. A priory in 1247, the building was converted to its later usage c.1400. The hospital moved in 1675, in 1815, and to its present location near Croydon in 1930. The word bedlam, which is derived from the hospital's name, has long been applied to any place or scene of wild turmoil and confusion. Presently, Bethlem Royal Hospital is connected with the Univ. of London's Institute of Psychiatry, and is part of the Maudsley Hospital.
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In the Middle Ages patients at London's Bethlem Hospital deemed insane wore armbands marking them as Bedlam Beggars.
The site was London's first municipal graveyard and was right next to Bethlem Hospital.
Morris, the Physician Superintendent of the Royal Bethlem Hospital, better known as Bedlam Asylum.
Often they were held at 'His (and later Her) Majesty's pleasure' at the Royal Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as Bedlam, and later at Broad moor when it opened in 1863.
He then spent the rest of his life in confinement, first in the Royal Bethlem Hospital and later as one of the first residents of Broadmoor when it opened in 1864.
What makes Ken Jackson's study of Bethlem Hospital and Bedlam dramas particularly convincing is his own experience as a health professional in various mental institutions.
The author argues that the main source of this belief is the Bedlamites that first appear "in five Jacobean plays" (167) that present spectators visiting Bethlem Hospital, or using asylums for the insane, for amusement.
Especially persistent has been the belief that Bethlem hospital was regularly visited by spectators for amusement.