Directory of Lunacy Commissioners 1774-1912
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Directory of Lunacy Commissioners 1774-1912

The commissioners index, lists all commissioners from 1774 to 1912, with the date they first served.
Commissioners Index
click name for biography
Commissioners in black were members of the Physicians' Commission (1774- 1828), unless marked with an asterisk.

Brown, blue and red links are commissioners who served on the Metropolitan Commission (1828 to 1845) or the national Lunacy Commission (1845 to 1912).

Brown links are unpaid commissioners, red are medical and blue are legal (Secretaries are also listed). Where a secretary became a commissioner, the date shown is the date he commenced as secretary.

The mauve links are not commissioners, but members of the Commission's staff

Clicking on a name will take you to the biography.

Acklom, George 1833
Ager, Joseph 1823
Ainslie, Henry 1797
Allbutt, T.C. 1889
Ash, John 1789
Ashley, Lord 1828
Austin, William 1788
Bagot, C.S. 1877
Baillie, Mathew 1793
Baker, George 1778
Barclay, J.R. 1787
Baring, F.T. 1828
Barlow, Francis 1841
    Barlow, the clerk
Barneby, John 1839
Bisset Hawkins, F. 1842
Bond, C.H. 1912
Bouverie, B. 1828
Bree, Robert 1816
Bright, John 1820
Brocklesby, Richard 1775
    Browne, Robert
Budd, Richard 1783
Burgess, John 1775
Byng, George 1828
Cadogen, William 1776
Calthorpe, F.G. 1828
Campbell, F.A.V. 1886
Campbell Rev. A.M. 1830
Campbell, W.G. 1845
Caulet, J.G. 1785
Cholmeley, H.J. 1822
Cleaton, J.D. 1866
Clifford, H.M. 1853
Clitherow, James 1828
Clive (E.B.), 1836
Clive (George), 1833
Cooke, E.M. 1898
Cooke, John 1816
Coupland, Sidney 1898
Currey, G.G. 1811
Davenport, H.T. 1889
Dickinson, O.E. 1912
Dorrington, John E. 1890
Dowdeswell, J.E. 1830
Drever, Thomas 1828
    Edward DuBois
Farquhar, W.R. 1839
Fordyce, George 1788
Forster, John 1855
Fortesque, D.F. 1867
Frampton, Algernon 1804
Franck, James 1812
Freemantle, T.F. 1830
Frere, W.E. 1878
Gaskell, Samuel 1849
Giffard, H.F. 1895
Gisborne, Thomas 1791
Gordon, Robert 1828
Gowen, J.R. 1842
Gower, Charles 1806
Green, H.D. 1908
Grey, George 1833
Halford, Henry 1795
Hall, J.H. 1842
Halswell, E.S. 1833
Hampson, G.F. 1828
Harrison, Richard 1824
Haworth, James 1808
Healde, Thomas 1782
Heberden, William 1803
Hervey, James 1784
Hewett, Cornwallis 1839
Hinckley, Henry 1774
Hodgson, B.T. 1908
Hope, E.S. 1908
Howard, G.T. 1873
Hue, Clement 1820
Hume, J.R. 1828
Hume, Thomas 1818
Hunter, John 1796
Inderwick, F.A. 1903
Inglis, R.A. 1833
Knox, Robert 1786
Lambe, William 1809
Latham, John 1791
Lawrence, Thomas 1776
Leeson, E.N. 1889
Lennard, T.B. 1828
Littleton, E.P. 1890
Lutwidge, R.W.S. 1842
Macleod, S.J.F. 1908
Macmichael, W. 1826
    Masters family
Maton, W.G. 1807
Mayo, John 1791
Milman, Francis 1783
Milnes Gaskell, J. 1839
Monro, Donald 1783
Morris, G.P. 1795 1795
Mylne, J.W. 1832
Nairne, Robert 1857
Needham, Frederick 1892
Nevinson, C.D. 1814
Pallmer, C.N. 1828
Paris, J.A. 1825
Pegge, Christopher 1819
Pemberton, C.R. 1800
Pepys, Lucas 1781
Perceval, C.S. 1872
Perceval, Spencer 1830
Petit, J.L. 1777
Phillips, C.P. 1865
Pitcairn, David 1786
Pitcairn, William 1774
Powell, Richard 1801
Price, Charles 1810
Prichard, J.C. 1842
Pringle, John 1774
Procter, B.W. 1832
Reeve, Thomas 1774
Reynolds, H.R. 1778
Rhys Williams, W. 1878
Roberts, C.H. 1908
Roberts, Edward 1795
Rose, G.H. 1828
Ross, Charles 1828
Salt, Thomas 1883
Satterley, R.P. 1813
Saunders, William 1793
Schonberg, Isaac 1778
Seymour, Lord 1836
Seymour, E.J. 1830
Seymour Conway 1828
Shadwell, L.L. 1901
Sharp, H.J. 1838
Shepherd, Rev. G. 1830
Smith, J.A. 1835
Smith, J.C. 1790
Somerset, Lord 1828
Southey, H.H. 1828
Southey, Reginald 1883
Spring Rice, W.C. 1861
Stone, A.D. 1799
Sykes, W.H. 1835
Thomas, Noah 1781
Thomlinson, Robert 1774
Trevor, A.H. 1904
Turner, Thomas 1811
Turton, John 1780
Tyson, Richard 1778
Urmson, G.H. 1889
Vernon Smith, R. 1830
Waldegrave, W.F. 1899
Wallis, J.M.A. 1893
Ward, William 1828
Warren, Pelham 1815
Warren, Richard 1777
Waterfield, Thomas 1841
Watson, William 1785
Whitter, Tristram 1818
Wilberforce, Ernest 1907
Williams, Robert 1827
Williamson, V.A. 1893
Willis, R.D. 1805
Wilkes, James 1855
Wollaston, W.H. 1798
Wright, Richard 1780
Wynn, C.W.W. 1828
The full Directory of Lunacy Commissioners consists of charts and biographies.


Physician Commission 1774 to 1828

Table of individual commissioners with biographical notes

Metropolitan and Lunacy Commission Commissioners and Secretaries 1828-1912

Medical commissioners (6BIOM)

Legal commissioners and secretaries (6BIOL)

Honorary (unpaid) commissioners (6BIOH)

The full Directory of Lunacy Commissioners includes biographies as well as charts


Physician Commission 1774 to 1828

Officers of the Physician Commission
Table showing system of appointing Physician Commission
Table of individual commissioners with biographical notes

Metropolitan and Lunacy Commissions 1828 to 1912 .
[and draft Board of Control chart 1913-1960]

The charts show every commissioner, London clerk (Metropolitan Commission) and Secretary (Lunacy Commission) from 1828 to 1912. (The Lunacy Commission became the Board of Control in 1913).

With the biographies, the charts locate commissioners in the general development of the commission.

The arrangement of commissioners in relation to one another is a construction of my own. Source data rarely said commissioner n succeeded commissioner y. In order to construct the charts I acted on the hypothesis of a tendency to replace one by another, and generally determined which on the circumstantial evidence of resignation or retirement and appointment, and the category (e.g. Middlesex JP) of commissioner.

The chart structure (especially with respect to the Metropolitan Commissioners) should be regarded as a hypothesis, or a collection of inter-related hypotheses about the commission's shape.

Data Base

The data on which the charts were based was principally the names and dates of office of the commissioners. The sources are best considered separately for the Metropolitan and Lunacy commissioners.

Apointment notices for the Metropolitan Commisioners were published annually in the London Gazette. I used these as the definitive auhority on who was appointed and the period they served (discarding an enormous number of alternative dates given in biographies, Boase, DNB, Munk and other sources.

The whole commission was appointed afresh each year, so I separated new from re-appointments by comparison of notices. Commissioners could be replaced between the annual statutory dates, so my dates wil be inaccurate by anything up to twelve months (but no more) in any case where this has happened. (I made no attempt to see if it ever did).

As notice was only given of appointments, one can only say when a commissioner was not re-appointed, not when he retired, resigned or ceased being a commissioner any other way, except by death.

Appointment notices were dated and I use this date, rather than the date of the Gazette, as the date of appointment. The dates and issues of the London Gazette (published Tuesdays and Fridays) were:

number published page notice dated
18496 Friday 15.8.1828 1552 9th August
18600 Friday 7.8.1829 1485 _
18716 Tuesday 10.8.1830 1714 7th August
18834 Tuesday 9.8.1831 1609 6th August
18976 Friday 14.9.1832 2084 12th September
19085 Tuesday 17.9.1833 1694 12th September
19194 Friday 19.9.1834 1696 18th September
19306 Friday 11.9.1835 1722 7th September
19418 Friday 9.9.1836 1585 1st September
19541 Friday 15.9.1837 2427 8th September
19653 Friday 7.9.1838 1947 3rd September
19768 Tuesday 10.9.1839 1740 9th September
19892 Friday 11.9.1840 2069 10th September
20018 Tuesday 14.9.1841 2299 10th September
20133 Friday 26.8.1842 2302 23rd August
20248 Friday 4.8.1843 263? 1st August
20372 Friday 9.8.1844 2766 5th August

Lunacy Commissioners

The work of tracing the Lunacy Commissioners was done for me. I used MH51/737 Lunacy Commission and Board of Control List of Commissioners and Secretaries 1845-1960.

Cross Checking

A large number of other references were used to check and supplement the base data. These were of great importance with respect to:

  • Identification of the Metropolitan Commissioners

  • Correction and completion of the dating in MH51/737

The names in MH51/737 generally created no problems for identification

Identification of Metropolitan Commissioners

Given the names of commissioners in the appointments lists, one still had to find out who they were, and ambiguities of identification arose when a person or persons with that or a similar name was traced, but one could not be sure if he or one of them (and which one) was the commissioners.

Fortunately most names allowed precise identification. There were no problems with the professional commissioners.

There were no ambiguities when the appointments list name included: Rt Hon; Hon; Sir; Bt or MP. These limited the choice of person to limited lists, and proved sufficient to remove any ambiguity. The absence of a limiting title meant the choice was open ended.

Below I list the seventeen honorary commissioners without these titles, with the reasons for my identification. I have marked with an asterisk the six about whose identification some ambiguity

Clitherow: Clearly identified from biographical circumstances

Rev. Campbell The distinctiveness of his name and title together

Dowdeswell Because there was an MP of that name

Perceval Because there was an MP of that name

Rev. Shepherd The distinctiveness of the title "Rev. Dr."

Vernon Smith identified himself as a commissioner in Hansard

Acklom * Click on the link for identification problems

G. Clive * Balance of probability. No rival contender

Halswell * Identified as a Metropolitan Commissioner in Alumni Cantabrigienses

J.A. Smith Because there was an MP of that name

Sykes published a paper as a commissioner. Also his biographies identify him.

E.B. Clive * I identified with the MP. Click on link to see problems.

Sharp * Click on the link for identification problems

Barneby MP of that name and biographical circumstances

Milnes Gaskell Distinctive name, MP of that name and biographical circumstances

Barlow is identified in Parliamentary Papers after 1845

Gowen * Click on the link for identification problems

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