Bethlem Royal Hospital

Glossary

4 Levels

The hospital was arranged on four floors, with the most challenging patients accommodated in the basement.  As patients began to recover, they would be moved to the higher floors.

Airing Court

Outside area for exercise and recreation.

Certified

As a condition of admission patients had to be certified as being insane by two doctors.

Chloroform

Drug used as a general anaesthetic.

Continuous bath

Patients were often bathed in warm water for prolonged periods.

Gallery

The name given to the wide corridors running the length of each floor.

F1A, F1B

In the early 1880s, the basement galleries on each side of the hospital were divided in two to make it easier to maintain order amongst patients who were seriously ill.  They were known as M1A and M1B on the male side and F1A and F1B on the female side.

Feeding cup

Method of feeding those who would not feed themselves.

Incurable list

Although Bethlem only treated patients for a period of 12 months, after which alternative arrangements had to be made, a small number of patients were admitted to Bethlem’s incurable wing.

Leg and arm dress

Clothing designed to restrict movement' for leg and arm dress.

M1A, M1B

In the early 1880s, the basement galleries on each side of the hospital were divided in two to make it easier to maintain order amongst patients who were seriously ill.  They were known as MIA and MIB on the male side and FIA and FIB on the female side.

Nasal tube

Method of feeding those who would not feed themselves.

Padded room

Used for temporary seclusion of patients who might be a danger to themselves or others.

Reception orders

Document in which medical certificates were written.

Restraint

Mechanical restraint largely ended in the 1840s.  Locked, padded gloves could still be used under controlled circumstances.

Shaved and blistered

treatment, generally to the head which might then be coated with iodine.

Stomach pump

Method of feeding those who would not feed themselves

Strong clothing

Made of material which was difficult to tear and sometimes padded.  Some enclosed the hands of the wearer.

Sulphonal

A tranquilliser newly manufactured in the 1880s which helped sleep and calmed excitable patients.  It was used at Bethlem with some success.

Voluntary Boarder

Patients who were not certified as insane but who wished to be admitted for treatment.  They, together with a responsible friend or relative signed a declaration to this effect on admission and could discharge themselves after giving 72 hours notice as long as they remained uncertified.    It was not uncommon for voluntary boarders to be certified at a later date and readmitted as patients.

Witley

Bethlem’s convalescent establishment in Surrey which opened in 1870.  Convalescent patients would often spend a month at Witley before, all being well, being discharged from the hospital within days of their return.  The routine at Witley was more relaxed than in the main hospital and patients enjoyed more freedom but it was mainly attractive as the final step before leaving Bethlem well.

 

 

Museum of the Mind Bethlem Royal Hospital | Monks Orchard Road | Beckenham| Kent BR3 3BX

South London and Maudsley
MLA