Wednesday, February 4, 2009
London Asylum for the Insane - London, Ontario
I decided to post some old pictures of an exploration I did a couple of years ago at the London Asylum for the Insane. The old Asylum sits on the grounds of the current London Psychiatric Hospital (Regional Mental Health Care).
A bit of history:
The London Asylum for the Insane was opened on November 18, 1870. Dr. Maurice Bucke was the second superintendant for the London Asylum (1877-1902). Reports indicate that Dr. Bucke favoured humanitarian treatment of the mentally ill and that he attempted to improve mental health through providing patients with beautiful surroundings (the Asylum was a working farm)and many social activities. Dr. Bucke is also said to have limited patient's use of alcohol and the hospital's use of mechanical constraints as a form of control.
A more controversial treatment method that Dr. Bucke used was his gynaecological surgeries, performed on over 200 women between 1895 and 1901. The theory at the time was that a women's mental health was intimately linked to her reproductive system.
The building you see in the picture was not the main building but the Infirmary or Exam building. The main building was demolished in 1975. There is also the original chapel and barn on the grounds as well as the current and active London Psychiatric Hospital.