Bedlam, Bethlem Royal Hospital, may surely be one of the most famous psychiatric…

Bedlam, Bethlem Royal Hospital, may surely be one of the most famous psychiatric institutions in the world. Its been around since 1247 and is infamous as a lunatic asylum. In the 18th century people used to go to Bedlam to stare at the lunatics. For a penny one could peer into their cells, view the freaks of the “show of Bethlehem” and laugh at their antics, generally of a sexual nature or violent fights. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Visitors were permitted to bring long sticks with which to poke and enrage the inmates. In 1814 alone, there were 96,000 such visits.

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