Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Bethlem Royal Hospital (bĕthˈləm), 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
from Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, former English insane asylum. [Br. Folklore: Jobes, 193]
(Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem) first asylum for the insane in England; noted for brutal treatment of its patients. [Br. Hist.: EB, I: 924]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Archaic a lunatic asylum; madhouse
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005