A Middlesex University resource provided by Andrew Roberts
The Lunacy
Commission Contents
Page Directory of Commissioners
legal commissioners
unpaid commissioners
Timeline 1828 Timeline 1912 may I introduce you? home page to all
of Andrew
Roberts' web site
mental health
and learning

Biographies of Medical Lunacy Commissioners 1828-1912

The first biography (Henry Halford) precedes the 1828 Commission, but acts as an introduction to those commissioners who joined the Metropolitan Commission from the Physician Commission.

Sir Henry Halford (Bt) FRCP 1794
A Physician Commissioner
Junior Commissioner 1795-1796
President of the Royal College of Physicians 30.9.1820 to his death 9.3.1844
Senior Commissioner 1820-1822 and 1824-1826.

Born Henry Vaughan 2.10.1766. In 1809 inherited a large property from a cousin of his mother, Sir Charles Halford, and consequently changed his name. Also created Baronet by George 3rd in 1809. He was physician to George 3rd and 4th, William 4th and Victoria.

" An important repercussion of George 3rd's mental breakdown was that it became not only respectable but indeed necessary for fashionable doctors to be acquainted with the management of mental illness. The leader of this trend was "the late sir Henry Halford.. a general physician" who attended George 3rd in his final illness from 1810 to his death and who was later "extensively consulted in this disease". Hunter, R.A. and Macalpine, I. 1963 p.960. Internal quotes from Seymour, E.J. 1847 (M6)

His published Royal College of Physicians addresses include a number on insanity.

" For many years after Dr Matthew Baillie's death" [23.9.1823] "indisputably at the head of London practice.. a good practical physician with quick perception and sound judgement, but he depreciated physical examination of patients, knew little of pathology, and disliked innovation. His courtly, formal manners and his aristocratic connection served him well.. described by J.F. Clarke.. as "vain, cringing to superiors, and haughty to inferiors.. " [his tenure as President] "was by no means favourable to reform and progress" (DNB)

30.9.1820 President of the Royal College of Physicians
in succession to John Latham.

"Halford was a baronet years before he bacame president. No one could have been better fitted to magnify his new office in the eyes of the world, and through it to elevate the College and the profession" (Clark, G. 1966 p.656)

22.1.1820: Letter from George 4th

"The new king, George 4th, wrote him a letter to intimate that in future the president of the College was always to be a physician in ordinary to the sovereign. The College accepted its share of the compliment" (Clark, G. 1966 p.656. The letter is printed in Munk 1895)

As Queen Victoria dissented from this practice, and Halford was President to 1844, succeding Presidents did not benefit.

20.5.1823: Letter from George 4th

"A year after the gracious letter promising that the presidents should always be royal physicians there came another, a private letter to Sir Henry Halford, which showed that royal favours created obligations. The King 'in continuation of the same feeling' as of the previous year wished that Sir Henry would make Henry Herbert Southey, the poet laureate's younger brother, a fellow of the College. Southey was a licentiate, but by the interest of another licentiate, Sir William Knighton, he had already become, like Sir William, a physician in ordinary to the King. He was admitted a fellow" (Clark, G. 1966 p.656. The letter is printed in Munk 1895 pp 108- 109)

The king also spoke to Halford; he said "You had better make him a fellow" (Clark, G. 1966 footnote 3, p.656, citing the 1834 report on medical education, part one, 15)


The great event in Royal College of Physicians history whilst Halford was President was its move to palatial new buildings in Pall Mall in 1825 (Table of Offices) which move he, according to G.T. Bettamy in DNB, was largely instrumental in securing


The following correspondence is report by Nick Harvey (1987) in chapter two:

2.8.1828 Letter from Robert Peel to Halford asking his opinion on doctors who had approached him for Commissioners' posts.

5.8.1828 and 5.8.1828 Letters from Halford to Peel. Halford recommended Thomas Turner (College Treasurer), John Bright (Physician Commission Secretary), William Macmichael (College Registrar), Henry Herbert Southey and Cornwallis Hewett.

That is, Halford recommended five physicians for the five medical posts on the new commission. Three were successful nominations, but Machmichael and Cornwallis Hewett were passed over in favour of John Robert Hume and Thomas Drever.

Nick says that Halford later recommended Macmichael and Cornwallis Hewett as Chancery Visitors (no reference). Brougham stated that he confirmed Chancery Visitor appointments already made by Copely (Lyndhurst) before December 1830, and that one of these was the already established "Court of Chancery Physician (Dr Macmichael)". The second (Henry Herbert Southey) was recommended by Macmichael). Cornwallis Hewett replaced Macmichael as a Chancery Visitor in 1839.

My analysis below of the Home Secretary's appointments was made before reading Nick Hervey's evidence (above). They appear consistent:
Two of the Metropolitan Commissioners appointed in 1828 were close friends of Halford: Thomas Turner and John Bright (M2). Their roles in the Physicians Commission would seem to give good reason for their appointment to the commission that would continue its work. John Robert Hume was not a Fellow of the London College at the time of his appointment, although he was a licentiate. The main reason for his appointment may have been that he was physician to the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. Similarly Henry Herbert Southey's main claim to a commissionership may have been that he was a favoured physician of the king.


Halford's will (1833) was witnessed by "his three medical friends": Macmichael (RCP Registrar 1824-1829 and then, by Halford's influence, physician and librarian to George 4th), Turner (M1) and John Bright (M2) (Munk 1895 p.87).

Macmichael and Turner were noted as physicians who Halford would delegate his ordinary practice to when he attended the King. Another friend was "Dr Seymour of St George's hospital" (M6), who attended him in his final illness. (Munk 1895 p.97)

Halford lived at 16 Curzon Street (1818 (Number not given) 1838, 1841). (1830 map). This modern map shows Curzon Street in the southwest corner of Mayfair

See Turner, Hume and Seymour.

The leading Royal College of Physicians members met at Turner's house after Halford's death to decide how to commemorate him. (Munk 1895 p.109)

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission and Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M1 Thomas Turner MD FRCP
Physician Commissioner 1811, 1813, 1819, 1824. Royal College of Physicians' Treasurer 1822- 1845. Metropolitan and Lunacy Commissioner 1828-1855.

Throughout his career as a Medical Commissioner, Turner appears from the evidence to have been more active and reliable in visiting and attending board meetings than Hume, Bright or Southey.

Born 17.1.1773 in London.

I have used the date of birth given in A.Ca.. However obituary notices (The Medical Times and Gazette 18.3.1865 p.298 and Munk) say he died aged 93, which would make him a year older. and his retirement age in Parliamentary Estimates 1861-1862 would make him two years older. Boase says he was born 1776 or 1777)

He was the eldest son of Samuel Turner (b. 1745, died 24.2.1818), a West India merchant of the City of London, and Anne (born 1753, died 16.8.1833), daughter of Dr John Athill of Antigua. His parents married in Antigua but were buried in London. His grandfather was Lord Mayor in 1768.

Educated at Charterhouse School. Trinity College Cambridge 11.4.1793. MB 1799. MD 1804. According to Memoirs 1818), he also attended a London school of medicine.

24.12.1800 Assistant physician at St Thomas's Hospital, Southwark. Physician 16.6.1802 to August 1816, when he resigned. Whilst at St Thomas's, Turner published his only known paper, a report of a case of inflamed kidneys published in the Royal College of Physicians Transactions, volume four. The anonymous author of Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons (1818) commented:

"Official incumbency always earns respect, but it should not be held as a sinecure with apathy, where the interests of science are concerned". From his paper: "we have some grounds to form rather a favourable opinion of Dr Turner's talents, but it does not seem to have been his wish, like many others, to press forward much on public attention"

14.1.1805 Married Lucretia Grace (who died 23.12.1826), the eldest daughter of Sir John Blois, 5th baronet, and Lucretia whose family were "of the island of St Christopher" in the West Indies. They had at least two sons. The eldest, Samuel Blois Turner (born 12.12.1805) went to Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Cambridge and became and anglican minister. Henry Blois Turner went into the East India Company service.

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1805. Censor 1807, 1817, 1827 and 1822. Physician Commissioner 1811, 1813, 1819 and 1824.

23.12.1822 TURNER TREASURER ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS (aged 49) Turner was appointed in place of G.G. Currey, who had been his assisstant and successor at St Thomas's Hospital. Currey had died on his "wedding tour". Timeline 1822

Turner was a close friend of the new President, Henry Halford. His great achievement as Tresurer was the leading part he played establishing the Physician's new premises in Pall Mall East. Munk says he

"was in that responsible and onerous office during the building of the college ediface in Pall Mall east. His exertions in that capacity were indefatigable, and his management of the pecuniary affairs of the college most judicious"

The opening in 1825 was marked by a presitigious ceremony which Turner organised. Halford wrote to him from his home on 30.6.1825

"I am gratified by this opportunity of expressing to you my deep sense of your indefatigable zeal and of your successful industry in preparing everything for the late ceremony and of (apraising?) you how much reason I have seen to admire your prudence in the management of the pecuniary affairs of the College ever since you have been its Treasurer. I remain, My Dear Sir with high esteem, your faithful friend and Servant. Henry Halford."

On Halford's motion the Fellows unanimously decided to purchase a piece of plate for £25, with a suitable inscription, to be presented to Turner (RCP Annals. Meeting on 30.9.1825)

Addresses: 1818: Charlotte Street (Between Marylebone and Bloomsbury) (Memoirs 1818). By 1838 he had moved to 31 Curzon Street, Mayfair, where his close neighbours included a Bishop and a princess. Halford and Hume (M1) also lived in Curzon Street. Sometime in 1845-1846 he moved to 81 Curzon Street, where he eventually died.

23.12.1826 Death of Lucretia, his first wife.

As an experienced Physician Commissioner, Turner gave eveidence to the 1828 Select Committee of the House of Lords considering the Pauper Lunatic Bills.

9.8.1828 TURNER METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged 55) Timeline 18281828

His signature appears on Reports more often than the other medical commissioners (3.4.1 table one). However, during the period July 1829 to April 1831 he was the least frequent of the active medical visitors, spending an average of 6.5 days a quarter visiting private asylums. (3.4.2 table two)

Physician extra-ordinary to Queen Adelaide from 24.7.1830 to her death in 1849. At sometime physician to William 4th. (Respecting the interest of William 4th and Queen Adelaide in lunacy, see Clitherow (H13). See also Southey (M4)

1.8.1834: emancipation of slaves in British West Indies

7.1.1841 Second marriage, ten days before his 68th birthday, to Dorothy (nee Athill), widow of Thomas Hackett, MD. She died 1.9.1843

23.8.1842 TURNER INQUIRY COMMISSIONER (aged 69) Timeline 1842

18.10.1842 He and Mylne (L1) signed a report on the licensed house at Hook Norton, Oxfordshire. Reproduced Parry-Jones, W.L. 1972 pp 144-145.

In debate on the 1845 Lunacy Bill, Thomas Duncombe asked Turner's age and period of service, saying that, when first appointed a commissioner, he "had no expectation of receiving any pension at all", but, under the Bill, if he had already served fourteen and a half years, he could retire in six months with a pension of £750. Ashley could not tell him Turner's age, but guessed "about sixty-five", adding that he "was very well able to fulfil the duties of his office". (Hansard 15.7.1845 col.529)

Hansard Wednesday 16.7.1845. In Committee on the Lunatics Bill:

Mr Warburton moved to omit all the words after 'that' for the purpose of inserting the following words:

Any superannuation allowance to be granted to any paid Commissioner appointed, or to be appointed, under this Act, shall be granted only as a compensation for services performed under this Act, and shall be subject to the provisions of an Act passed in the fourth and fifth years of His late Majesty William the Fourth in respect of such officers and clerks as might enter the public service after the 4th day of August, 1829

... Amendment agreed to

So, as passed, the Act only provided for pensions calculated on years of service as a Lunacy Commissioner (see law)

NAMED IN 1845 ACT (aged 72)
Timeline 1845

Stimulated by Prichard's death, The Lancet in January 1849 suggested that Hume and Turner should, in honour, resign, given their age and health. They were "men verging on second childhood", hardly fitted to uphold their profession against the three active lawyers".

The Lancet described Turner as "very infirm" and repeated references to blindness, such as the one below, probably relate to him rather than Hume:

    "The frailties of age are sacred, unless when the old do a positive wrong, by retaining offices of public trust after their faculties have ceased to fit them for the fulfilment. We mean no disrespect when we declare that we have heard from good authority, that a medical commissioner, making an examination into the state of a lunatic asylum, actually, in his blindness, mistook a male for a female patient." (Lancet editorial 13.6.1849).

Between August 1845 and December 1846, Turner attended Boards only a little less often than Prichard (see table) and he was not absent for long periods like Hume (see table)

However, it was not necessarily the most active commissioners who attended the most Boards. A commissioner indisposed for much visiting might increase his Board attendance whilst those who took over his visiting decreased theirs. Prichard, in fact, was minuted as indisposed for visiting at a time when he was regularly attending Boards. (See Hume M3)


This list only counts meetings that were attended by all three legal commissioners. On these occasions the missing commissioner was probably not visiting as visits usually required a medical and legal commissioner.

  1846 1847 1848
TURNER missed: no meetings 2 meetings one meeting
PRICHARD missed: 7 meetings no meetings 5 meeting
HUME missed: 7 meetings 13 meetings 13 meetings

From the minutes we gather that Hume and Prichard were unable to carry their full share of visiting, so Turner must have done more than his share. It appears, therefore, that during these three years he was the medical commissioner most available for work.

17.8.1855? Turner retired aged 82. Wilkes appointed in his place 10.10.1855?

I took the date of Turner's retirement (17.8.1855) from the Parliamentary Estimates 1861-1862. The news of Turner's retirement was given in The Lancet on 6.10.1855 (page 344). The news of Wilkes appointment in his place was given a month later in The Lancet on 10.11.1855 (page 452).

There is a different date (10.10.1855) for Turner's retirement in The financial Accounts of the United Kingdom (1855-1856). Thies accounts show Wilkes as appointed on the same day. I have taken this as a financial date with respect to Turner - interpreting the discrepancy as meaning he actually retired at the earlier date, but as on full pay until Wilkes started work. The same financial accounts show Mylne as a commissioner for twenty-nine days beyond his death, which suggests they relate to payments.

Turner's pension calculated on ten years service was £375 a year ( Parliamentary Estimates 1861-1862)

Aged 90 (1863?) he was garrotted by roughs, the only effect of which was to cure his goitre" (Munk)

He died 10.3.1865.

Turners and Athills and the West Indies

Thomas Turner's younger brothers maintained direct connections with the West Indian trade and plantations. The Turners and Athills were closely intermarried and descendants of his brother Charles (born 1877, died 1854) seem to have inherited "Lynch's", the family plantation of Samuel Bryan Athill, where the Athills had their private family burial ground. Charles Turner was a Liverpool merchant, and another brother, John Hayward Turner, married in Liverpool in 1822. In the Parliamentary Return of slave compensation payments, there were claims in Antigua that appear to relate to both Charles and John Turner. Claim number 265 (litigated) involved 331 slaves the joint property of "Hardmen Earl and John H. Turner" and "Charles Turner". Earl and John Hayward Turner were paid £2,373..12..7½ on the claim, and Charles was paid the same amount. Jointly, on my calculations, Earl and John H. Turner owned about 930 slaves in Antigua.

External link mentions Hardman Earle Hope Street, Liverpool. Sir Hardman Earle (11.7.1792-25.1.1877), director of the North Western Railway, gave his name to Earlstown in Lancashire (See Newton-le-Willows.com)

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M2 John Bright MA MD FRCP
Physician Commissioner 1820-1821.
Physician Commission Secretary 1825 - 1828
Metropolitan Commissioner 1828 - 1845
Chancery Visitor 1842? - 1862

Born 17.12.1782.

The fourth son of Paul Bright ("gentleman") of Inkersall in Stavely parish, near Chesterfield, North Derbyshire. Paul Bright died 17.3.1804 and was buried at Stavely.

Descendent of a succession of Thomas Brights, gentlemen of Greystones [which is now a suburb of Sheffield] who have been traced back to the 17th century. "Gentlemen" suggests landed gentry, but John Bright's grandfather's brother and his so were "silverplaters". The family had connections with Sheffield, so the metal industry may have been the original source of their wealth. (See Joseph Hunter's Hallamshire, The History of Sheffield 1875? edition, pages 358-359)

13.12.1787: matriculated Wadham College, Oxford. BA 1801. MA 1804. B.Med 1806. MD 1808.

First practised in Birmingham.

Married (before 1811) Elizabeth Minors of Birmingham.

about 1811 Birth in Birmingham of John Edward Bright, their eldest son.

1810 Appointed physician to the General Hospital, Birmingham. "...but before long he removed to London" (DNB)

Royal College of Physicians candidate 30.9.1808. Fellow 30.9.1809. Censor 1813.

Madhouse Commissioner 1820/1821. [Censor again 1822]

In 1859 Bright ran his posts as commissioner, secretary and chancery visitor together as one continuous occupation, dating from this point. The Physician Commission was an agent of the Westminster Courts, designed to enhance the powers of Chancery. It also seems that the Lord Chancellor employed people (as one would expect) outside the roles determined by statutes. For reasons stated, I think Bright became one of the statutory Chancery visitors in 1842.
Commissioners' Secretary 1825-1828,


4.2.1828 Mary Bright, John Bright's eldest sister (born 21.7.1789) married William Milnes, recently a widower, of Stebbings Edge Hall, Ashover, Derbyshire. In 1828 or 1829 John Bright and William Milnes were so-purchasers, for £60,000, of Overton Hall, Ashover, seat of the late Sir Joseph Banks (Royal Society President 1778- 1820). Milnes' estate in this area was about 16,000 acres and it is possible he was expanding his land. The actual hall became John Brights' seat and, with its acquisition, he joined Milnes as one of the Lords of the Manor of Overton

The Milnes' wealth came from lead smelting. William Milnes was sometime JP and Deputy Lieutenant for Derbyshire (Stephen Glover's History of County Derby 1833, part one, volume 2, pages 57-65)

9.8.1828 BRIGHT METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged 45) Timeline 18281828

His signature was on the Reports in 1829 and 1840 (3.4.1 table one). During the period July 1829 to April 1831 he was the most frequent of the visitors, spending an average of 7.875 days a quarter visiting private asylums. (3.4.2 table two)

Royal College of Physicians Harveian Orator 1830.

Royal College of Physicians Censor again 1833. Elect 25.6.1839. Censor again 1840.

Bright's wife died 22.12.1841. His mother (aged 88) died on 6.2.1842.


Cornwallis Hewett, who Bright seems to have replaced, died on 13.9.1841. Bright is sometimes shown as appointed 1841.

I initially calculated the date of Bright's appointment as 1842 from the text of the 1862 Chancery Lunatics Act, section 23, which provided for pensions. This said that one Visitor, who was 78, had served 28 years; the other, who was 80, had served for 20 years. Bright was 80.

The other Visitor was Southey (M4). Bright took responsibility for the eastern half of London (1859 SCHC 21.3.1859 Q1373) and half the country.

    "Dr Bright was for many years the Chancellor's adviser in Lunacy.. he was never largely engaged in practice, and after he was appointed to the court of Chancery he limited himself to his official duty. An ample private fortune placed him beyond the anxieties of professional life." (Lancet obituary)

23.8.1842 BRIGHT INQUIRY COMMISSIONER (aged 59) The evidence below suggests he may not have been an active commissioner during the inquiry years Timeline 1842

Bright was one of the Physicians who examined McNaughton in 1843 (Hunter and MacAlpine 1963 p.919)

26.6.1843 Bright retired as physician to Westminster Hospital (Lancet obituary), but was retained as a consulting physician from 1843-1870 (DAVIES #### p.##)
Bright was the only medical commissioner who did not sign the 1844 Report. (3S.4.1.TA1).

CEASED TO BE A COMMISSIONER 5.8.1845 AGED 63. He was the only one of the four medical commissioners who served from 1828 who was not named a Lunacy commissioner in the 1845 Lunacy Act. He (and Southey) continued as a Chancery Visitor until 1862 when part time Visitors were replaced by full- time Visitors.

1859 SCHC 18.7.1859: Dr John Bright:

Q.632 Chairman: I believe you are a Physician of some standing? Yes.

Q.633 You are one of the physicians who act under the authority of the Lord Chancellor with reference to lunatics consigned to his care? - I have acted as Commissioner and secretary of Commissioners in Lunacy, and visitor of Chancery lunatics, 38 years

Q.634 [Duty to visit the Chancery Lunatics]

Q.635 [Also member of the Board respecting Chancery Lunatics]

Q.636 Of what is the Board composed: - It was originally composed of the chairman, Dr Phillimore, and the two visiting physicians.

Q.637 Dr Southey is a visiting physician? Yes

Q.638 You two, as visiting physicians, are members of that Board? - Yes we are the original members.

[This is ambiguous. I have taken it to refer (with question 636) to a Board established in 1842]

Q.639 Are the masters members of the Board? Yes; they are ex-officio members of the Board.

Q.640 Is there any other member of the Board besides Dr Phillimore, the two physicians and the two masters? - No other

Q.641 What are the duties of the Board? ... to consider such reports as have been received at the office since the last meeting, as the general correspondence of the Board

Q.642 From whom? From the committees of patients


Q.679 Do you see any reason why there should be a divided jurisdiction for the purposes of superintending the cases of different lunatics, merely because they happen to be under the authority of the Chancellor in one instance, and in private asylums in the other? - Quite the contrary. I have long expressed my wish for the consolidation of the three [?] branches, if I may so term them.


Q.722-724 [Secretary of the Board also Secretary to the Masters]


Q.784 Mr Tite ... You have said that the Board is legally constituted by five gentlemen? - Yes

Q.785 ... Do the two Masters ever attend? - Sometimes for a very short period

Q.786 ... Very rarely? - Very rarely: one of them latterly has attended, and the other attends for a very short period, he being very much occupied in his office

Q.787 [Full Board: Dr William Phillimore, Dr Bright, Dr Southey, Mr Barlow, Mr Warren]

Q.793 [Secretary to Board: Mr Henry Enfield]

[This the Board as it was in 1842 apart from Warren who had just replaced Winslow]


Q.799 Sir Erskine Perry: I suppose that in point of fact the Secretary is the Board, and acts as the Board? - Certainly

Bright and Southey both retired as Chancery Visitors in September 1862, taking advantage of the pension provisions of 1862 Chancery Lunatics Act, which became law on 7.8.1882. Their replacements had already been appointed. Dr William Charles Hood and Dr John Charles Bucknill were appointed on 9.8.1862.

Dr Bright was born 17.12.1782, so he was actually seventy-nine (not eighty-one as the 1862 Act states) when he retired. The Act says the older visitor (Bright) had served twenty years in 1862, which means he was appointed in 1842.

Bright died 1.2.1870, a few days before his 88th birthday, at his home, 19 Manchester Square.

1881 Census: Four unmarried children living together at 23 Sussex Place, London, Middlesex, England: John E. Bright, aged 70, born Birmingham. Practising Barrister. Henrietta C. Bright, sister, aged 67, born St James West, Middlesex, Mary Bright, sister, aged 65, born Eccleshall, Stafford, and Mynors Bright, Brother, aged 64, born Eccleshall, Stafford, Clergyman Church Of England Without Cure Of Souls. With butler, cook and two nurses.

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission and Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M3 John Robert Hume MD (St Andrews), FRCP (Edinburgh), LRCP (London) After 1828: Honorary DCL(Oxford) FRCP (London), CB.
Commissioner 1828-1857.
died in office 1.3.1857

Born 1781 or 1782 (Boase). The eldest son of Joseph Hume, a medical practitioner in Hamilton, near Glasgow. (A.Gl.)

Boas: Medical education Glasgow 1795, Edinburgh 1796-1797, Glasgow 1798- 1799 (Peterkin and Johnston record Hume as entering the army as a hospital mate 28.10.1798 and serving in Holland in 1799)

Scottish Universities were not socially exclusive in the way the English were (2.5.1), so we cannot draw any conclusions about social class from attendance at them. Students usually began a four session course when they were fourteen or younger. It was secondary rather then higher education. No qualification was recorded for Hume in the Glasgow Matriculation Albums (A.Gl.) for this stage.

9.5.1800 Assistant Surgeon, 92nd Regiment of Foot. 1801 Served in Egypt. 9.7.1803 Surgeon, 14th Battalion of Reserve. 25.3.1805: 79th Regiment of Foot. 1808 Served in the Peninsular War. In 1809 he was in the Walcheren expedition, which sailed on July 27th in the hope of attacking Antwerp, but was finally abandoned on December 12th. On 17.8.1809 he was promoted to Staff Surgeon, a designation used for surgeons not belonging to regiments, but employed on the staff of a General in the field, or in a General Hospital.

1810-1814 Resumed Peninsula War. Hume

    "served with distinction in the Peninsula, and during that period" was surgeon to Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, "with whom he continued on the most intimate relations to the last" (Munk).
Napoleon abdicated in April 1814. Staff surgeons were usually retired on half pay at the end of a war, but on 26.5.1814 (the month Wellesley was created Duke) Hume was made a Deputy Inspector of Hospitals. The inspectors and deputies were the top layer of the army medical service, who superintended and controlled it.

March 1815. War resumed. 18.6.1815 The battle of Waterloo. Hume was present with Wellington. He brought up the rear at a famous Ball on the 15th, along with a diplomat and the Duke's chaplain. After the battle he amputated the leg of Wellington's "favourite aide-de-camp", and later woke the Duke with the news that the patient had just died in his arms (Longford, vol 1, p.484)

MD St Andrews 12.1.1816. FRCP Edinburgh 1816. From 1815 to 1818 France was "supervised" by an "ambassadorial conference" under Wellington, and Hume was in Paris as physician to the embassy.

3.12.1818 Made Inspector of Hospitals, but on half pay until 27.4.1820.

In 1819 hume returned to London with Wellington and on 22.12.1819 became LRCP. He had no intention of "settling" in London at this time but must have intended to practise there or he would not have paid the (high) fees to become a licentiate. He retired as an active officer on 25.4.1821 either on full (Peterkin and Johnston or half (Boas) pay.

Hume settled in London sometime in 1822/1823 and was private physician to Wellington for many years. By 1838 (at the latest) he lived at 9 Curzon Street (see Halford and Turner), not far from Apsley House, Hyde Park Corner, the Duke's London residence (Piggots).

By 1822 Hume was married with a family that included his "pretty eldest daughter Elizabeth" who was having a "secret romance" with the Duke's fourteen year old son. In 1829-1830 "Society" understood that the Duke's son might marry her. Lord Grey referred to him in a letter as engaged to "the surgeon's daughter" and the son wrote about "the lady who dressed better than anyone else in London" and was an especial friend of his mother. The Duke seems to have gently put a stop to the marriage (Longford, vol.2 p.83 and pp 100-101).

Hume's only son, John James, was entered at Glasgow University in 1826. Hume was described as "Medici Hamilton", so may have lived and practised in both London and Scotland at this time. John James graduated MD and became LCRS Edinburgh in 1835 (A.Gl). On 28.12.1836 he joined the army as a Staff Assistant Surgeon. Two years later, on 4.12.1838, he fell, unarmed, into the hands of "400 brigands" who attacked the fort where he was stationed during the colonial insurrection in Canada. "His corpse was found mutilated and mangled by their knives and axes", and the British soldiers seem to have taken equally bloody reprisals against the rebels (1838 Annual Register p.133).

Hume's brother, William, was also an army doctor, and died in Barbados 18.11.1827 (A.Gl).

4.9.1822 Hume sent for urgently from Apsley House. Wellington was seriously ill after having his ear treated with caustic soda by a "distinguished aurist". He seems to have been under Hume's care, recovering from this serious illness, for over a year. Longford describes Hume as combining "a noisy manner with unremitting anxiety about the Duke's health and habits". His "frankness" during this period led to at least on estrangement. (Longford, vol.2, pp 100-101).

Wellington Prime Minister January 1828 to November 1830.

9.8.1828 HUME METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged about 46) Timeline 18281828

Saturday 21.3.1829. On Friday he received a message from a cabinet minister to attend a duel the next morning and to bring pistols. The duel was between the Duke and Lord Winchelsea. No blood was shed. Hume loaded the Duke's pistols. (LONGFORD, vol.2 pp 186-189)

15.4.1834 Examined by the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Medical Education

    Q.2973 You are a licentiate of the College of Physicians? - I am.

    Q.2974 When did you become so? - when I came over from France with the Duke of Wellington in 1819.

    Q.2978 Had you at any time an intention of graduating at Oxford or Cambridge, with a view to becoming a fellow? - No, I had no intention of settling in London till I came here accidentally.

    Q.2980 - [answer:] I have found no practical inconvenience from being a licentiate.

    Q.2995 [Asked if it was in any way degrading] I have lived in the very best society in London: I have never felt myself at all degarded in any way, nor would I allow myself to be degraded.

    Q.2996 - [answer:] I never met with any but the greatest civility from the fellows and licentiates of the College, since I came to London.

    Q.2999 - [answer:] I have a very fair practice.... Other men's feelings may be different from mine. I am a scotchman, and was educated in Scotland.

From 1834 Wellington was Chancellor of Oxford University. Hume "as physician to the duke" was made D.C.L. on 13.8.1834 (Munk).

From 1835 to 1845 Hume was Examining Physician to the Military Department of the East India Company. (Post Office Directories)

9.7.1836 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London.

23.8.1842 HUME INQUIRY COMMISSIONER (aged 60) Timeline 1842

NAMED IN 1845 ACT (aged 63)
Timeline 1845

Hume was in a sufficiently poor state of health that his incapacity sometimes put the commission under very severe strain. He was sworn in by the Lord Chancellor on 8.4.1845, but did not attend the Board until 30.9.1845. In 1846, 1847 and 1848 he consistently attended only about two- thirds as many meetings as the other professional commissioners (see table).

October 1847: Inquiry into Haydock Lodge

On 25.5.1848, Mylne

"drew the attention of the Board to the difficulties which existed with reference to the visitation of the Licensed Houses, more especially within the Metropolitan District, in consequence of the long and severe illness of Dr Hume and Dr Prichard's domestic anxiety arising from his son's alarming state of health"

It was probable that neither would be available for London visiting for "some time to come" and the board decided that "during the current statutory year" houses in London, except for pauper houses, should be visited by one or two legal commissioners, instead of a medical and legal commissioner as required by the 1845 Lunacy Act. (MH50/5 pp 69-70)

Prichard was present at this meeting, but Hume was absent all through April and May 1848 and for about half the meetings in the preceding three months.

Hume appears to have recovered in the Autumn as his attendance from October 1848 was on a par with the other professionals

Stimulated by Prichard's death, The Lancet in January 1849 suggested that Turner and Hume should, in honour, resign, given their age and health. They were "men verging on second childhood", hardly fitted to uphold their profession against the three active lawyers". See discussion under Turner

Hume was described as:

"a surgeon wafted into a comfortable berth for cutting of several aristocratic limbs during the late wars. He is, we are told, nearly seventy years of age, and bedridden with gout"

John C. Williams, visiting physician to Nottinghamshire County Asylum, read this editorial of 9.1.1849 and wrote to the editor on 12.1.1849:

"You may judge of my surprise after reading to find Dr Hume in Nottingham yesterday. He visited the... workhouse, where there are ore than forty lunatics... amongst 900 paupers. He afterwards went to Mansfield, fourteen miles from hence, to inspect a private asylum.

This morning he went to the... [Nottingham asylum], which contains 251 patients. He inspected every patient... and carefully examined the whole establishment. He was standing and walking more than three hours, and only sat down..., after the inspection, to assist... Mr Campbell, in examining the books.

I was with him nearly the whole... time... in the asylum and I have no hesitation in saying, that Dr Hume did, 'full efficiently', his important duties, without any, 'physical infirmities' rendering him incapable'.

It is clear you have been shamefully mislead, and I conclude you will be gratified by being so soon enabled to contradict your mis-statement..."

The Lancet printed the letter prominently and apologised fro the critical editorials, which it said had not been written by the editor. They had been printed by "accident" and the Lancet was pleased to have opportunity to state that it

"would not intentionally wound the feelings of Dr Hume or Dr Turner, both of who, we have reason to know, are men of high integrity and nice feelings of honour - Editor" (Lancet 1849, vol.1 p.75)

In 1850 Hume was created a Companion of the Bath (Military). Wellington died 14.9.1852

From Turner's retirement (October 1855), Hume was the only medical commissioner who was not an ex-asylum doctor. Although the asylum doctors Gaskell and Wilkes were mentioned frequently in Procter's published letters, Hume was not mentioned.

1.8.1856 Hume and Wilkes were both elected honorary members of the asylum doctors' association

1.3.1857: Hume died in office (aged 75) at his home, 9 Curson Street.

Nairne was appointed in Hume's place

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission and named as a Lunacy Commissioner
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M4 Henry Herbert Southey MD (Edinburgh), FRCP (London), FRS, Honorary DCL(Oxford) in 1847.
Commissioner 1828 - 1845. Chancery Visitor 1833 - 1862
Southey was replaced 31.8.1845 by Prichard

Born Bristol 18.1.1784 (Boase) (DNB and The Medical Times and Gazette give 1783 as the year of his birth).

His father, Robert Southey (born about 1745, probably in Wellington, Somerset) married, 25.9.1772, Margaret Hill (born about 1752 in Somerset, died 5.1.1802 London) in Bedminster Church, Bristol

His father, a linen draper, died about October 1792 [or died December 1792 in Bristol] and his upbringing was overseen by other relatives, including his elder brother Robert Southey

Robert Southey, poet, was born 12.8.1774. He conceived with Coleridge the radical scheme for a Pantisocracy (1794). The Peninsula War (1810-1814) made him a Tory. He became Poet Laureate in 1813. His poet colleagues, Coleridge and Wordsworth made similar moves from the radical wing of politics to the conservative. Robert Southey's Tory theories had a great influence on Lord Ashley. Robert Southey died in 1843 and was succeeded by Wordsworth as Poet Laureate.

Henry Herbert was sent to private schools in and near Yarmouth:

ROBERT: "Harry is much improved in manner and mind since my visit to Yarmouth. I am, however, uneasy lest he should contract habits of expensiveness..." [he] "is very quick, he has talent enough...the marks of genius are not, I think, to be found in him." (HALL, B. 1965)

Studied surgery at Norwich under Philip Meadows Martineau.

ROBERT 9.2.1803: "Harry is sent off to Edinburgh against my opinion, without my uncle's knowledge and against the approbation of his friends, merely because he was so intolerably idle that Mr Martineau very properly refused to keep him." (Curry, K. 1964 vol. 1, p. 342. Letter to Danvers)

Henry Herbert entered Edinburgh University November 1803. William Knighton and Dr Robert Gooch were amongst his fellow students and friends. Munk says that he "secured" the friendship of Henry Brougham at Edinburgh.

Henry Herbert obtained an MD 24.6.1806 with a dissertation on the origin of syphilis.

After Edinburgh he studied for a winter in London

30.12.1806 Henry Herbert Southey's introduction to Mrs Gonne, mother of his second wife, Louisa Gonne (Curry, K. 1964, vol.1 p.433)

1807 settled as a physician in Durham:

"he became a great favourite both as the companion and as the physician of many of the great aristocratic families in the north of England, and their favour and support followed him when he afterwards settled" [in London] (Sir Thomas Watson 1866)
13.5.1809 Robert "I expect daily to hear of Harry's marriage with Mary Sealey"

17.5.1809 Harriet Sealey married Henry Herbert Southey at Saint George, Liverpool.

15.6.1809 Robert Southey to Danvers:

" Harry is well settled there [in Durham]. He makes at a rate of 200 a year now: which for so young a practitioner is very much■. And if his wife outlives her father, she will have enough to enable him to retire from practice altogether" (Curry, K. 1964, vol.1 p.510)

12.9.1810 Bertha and Katherine Southey, daughters of Robert and Edith, christened at Crosthwaite, Cumberland. Bertha married [Rev] Herbert Hill on 12.3.1839 at Crosthwaite

29.6.1811 Mary Sealey, died (Curry, K. 1964, vol.1 p.510 note. Reference to Gentleman's Magazine vol 81 (1811) p.682)

"The largest emoluments", obtained in Durham, "were too small to satisfy his aspirations" (Munk).

1812 moved to London on Sir William Knighton's advice. LRCP 22.12.1812.

April 1813 Robert Southey to his publisher re Life of Nelson refers to "My Brother Dr Southey, 28 Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square". (Curry, K. 1964, vol.2 p.57) [His address to about 1824]

1814 published Observations on Pulmonary Consumption.

3.4.1814 Robert Southey: Henry's book on consumption in process of publication (Warter vol.2 p.348)

"His contributions to medical literature were few... He was a man of classical attainment" (Lancet obituary).

11.11.1814 Robert:

"You will be glad to hear that he [Henry] is likely to give me a new sister, - a very interesting woman, whose mother I have known nineteen years... They were a Lisbon family, but for some years past have lived at Champion Hill. The father has long been lingering in slow consumption from which there is little or no recovery. In point of fortune the connection, on Harry's part, is exactly what I should wish it to be - neither ambitious or imprudent"

8.8.1815 Robert Southey: The Doctor is about to run over to Waterloo and Brussels on his marriage, and I mean to go with him (Warter vol.2)

15.8.1815 Robert Southey: Neville has been strenuously aiding him [ Henry Herbert Southey] in a canvas for the Middlesex Hospital (Warter vol.2 p.424-425)

21.8.1815 Louisa Gonne married Henry Herbert Southey at Saint Leonards, Streatham, Surrey

Physician to Middlesex Hospital 17.8.1815 to 24.4.1827.

Observer Sunday 3.9.1815 Report of a recent bonfire celebration held by Mr Southey and Mr Wordsworth, Sir George Beaumont, Lord and Lady Sunderlin and others on top of Skiddaw, in honour of Waterloo.

5.9.1815 Robert Southey: My brother carried his election, his four competitors successively withdrawing from the contest. He has married since to a woman I remember a child in arms at Lisbon. (Warter vol.2)

1.6.1817 Robert Southey, junior born to Henry Herbert and Louisa. Christened 19.7.1817 at Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone.

Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons 1818:

"Dr Southey's appearance will gain him friends, which is highly pre-possessing, and his knowledge and attention...will secure and extend them"

The anonymous author had no doubts that, given opportunities, Southey's "industry and abilities" would gain him a medical reputation: "on a standing with a Halford, a Pepys, and other distinguished names".

20.6.1818 Henry Herbert Southey junior born. Christened 30.7.1818 Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone [Both this, and the 1822 birth, on International Genealogical Index with Henry Herbert Southey and Louisa as parents]

23.10.1819 Charles Gonne Southey born. Christened: 1.12.1819 Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone

7.4.1821 Louisa Mary Southey born. Christened 14.5.1821 Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone

6.11.1822 Henry Herbert Southey junior born. Christened 9.12.1822 Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone

25.11.1822 Robert Southey: congratulations on birth of Henry's son. (Warter vol.3)

1823: By Knighton's influence, Physician in Ordinary to George 4th.

25.6.1823 By George 4th's influence, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Censor 1826, 1832, 1849. Harveian orator 1847, Consilarius 1836, 1840- 1842, 1847-1849. An Elect 3.3.1848.

3.7.1823 Robert Southey: My brother Henry's appointment is owing to Sir William Knighton. They were intimate at Edinburgh. He is now in a fair way to fortune. (Warter vol.3)

16.11.1824 William Southey born. Christened 24.12.1824 Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone

21.12.1824 Robert Southey:

"Did I tell you that my brother Henry has bought a part of Watson Taylor's house in Harley Street, which he is now dividing off and fitting up, that he may remove into it, having outgrown the house in Queen Anne Street?" (Warter vol.3)

25.4.1825, FRS

7.3.1826 Mary Southey born. Christened: 26.4.1826 All Souls, Saint Marylebone [Still alive in 1881. Unmarried. Living with her brother Arthur, in Devon.

27.3.1827 Emma Southey born. Christened: 5.5.1827 All Souls, Saint Marylebone

9.8.1828 SOUTHEY METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged 44) Timeline 18281828

Physician extra-ordinary to Queen Adelaide 1830. At sometime physician to William 4th. (Respecting the interest of William 4th and Queen Adelaide in lunacy, see Clitherow (H13). See also Turner (M1)

Wrote the "Life of Gooch" in Lives of the British Physicians (18--)

25.11.1828 Edmund Southey born. Christened: 11.3.1829 All Souls, Saint Marylebone. Still alive in 1881, when he was a retired Colonel, Royal Engineers, living with his wife and children in Croydon.

7.1.1830 Louisa Southey junior born. Christened 28.1.1830 All Souls, Saint Marylebone

January 1830, Henry Herbert Southey's second wife, [Louisa Gonne], died, leaving seven young children.

3.3.1830 Robert:

"My sister Louisa's death is a grievous loss to one so thoroughly domestic in his habits as my brother H. I do not think any man was ever more happily mated or lost more in a wife."

12.9.1830 Lord Ashley at Panshanger to Robert Southey at Keswick

"... I have derived the greatest benefit from the study of your works, and I think that the world also is largely indebted to your genius and industry ...

My office has, I dare to believe, given me some weight and personal interest with the Directors of the East India Company; the Writerships of that Service lead eventually to important trusts and lucrative emoluments; if you have any son or nephew whom you wish to advance in an honourable and advantageous career, I shall be both proud and happy to obtain for him such a situation. I am fully convinced that a young man imbued with your principles and instructed by your learning, will prove a public servant such as we need to superintend the immediate comforts, and gradually to promote the civilisation of India... " (Hodder 1892 p.63)

18.9.1830 Robert Southey to Ashley

"... nothing more utterly unexpected, or more gratifying, has ever occurred to me. A like offer was made to me in the year 1816 by Lord Bathurst... It was proposed through Mr Croker, and upon the supposition that I had a son... but I had just then seen that son laid in the grave... There then appeared no likelihood that I would have another child, but, after three years, it pleased God to give me a second son, who is now just beyond the age at which his brother was removed. My hope is that, if his life is spared, he may become a Minister in the Church of England, which I believe is the happiest station in which he could be placed; and with this hope I am educating him myself.

But I have a nephew, now eleven years old, for whom I should most thankfully and gratefully accept your Lordship's proffered kindness. This I could not say till I had communicated with his father, Dr Southey. He is a promising boy, and has been well educated, thus far, in the usual course..." (Hodder 1892 p.63)

15.10.1831 Robert sent congratulations on the marriage of Henry Herbert Southey to Clara Latham

24.7.1833 Royal Assent to Brougham's 1833 Chancery Lunatics Act

1833 SOUTHEY BECAME CHANCERY VISITOR (aged 49) Timeline 1833

Henry Herbert Southey one of the two medical Chancery Visitors. He said in 1859 that he had been a Visitor "ever since the Act passed". He may have been a (non-statutory) visitor before.

"Among his early friends was Henry (afterwards Lord) Brougham... (who appointed him a commissioner in Lunacy)... From that time Dr Southey's practice lay chiefly, though not exclusively, among the insane; and here (his) natural good sense, practical judgement, and kindness of heart, gave him the power of conferring substantial benefits upon his afflicted clients, while he inspired corresponding confidence and comfort among their distresses relations and friends" (Sir Thomas Watson 1866) The quote is as in my notes - which are somewhat ambiguous respecting parentheses.

26.12.1833 Arthur Southey born. Christened: 24.1.1834 All Souls, Saint Marylebone

15.9.1835 Reginald Southey born at 4 Harley Street. 5th son (alumni oxon) of Henry Herbert Southey. Boas says youngest son. Christened 28.10.1835 at All Souls, Saint Marylebone.

24.12.1836 Clara Southey junior born. Christened 3.4.1837 at All Souls, Saint Marylebone.

Henry Herbert Southey was at 1 Harley Street by 1838.

28.3.1838 Frances Ellen Southey born. Christened 9.5.1838 at All Souls, Saint Marylebone.

4.6.1839 Robert Southey married Caroline Bowles. The severity of his mental decline became evident to her within three months of her marriage. [DNB]

29.9.1839 Edith Southey born. Christened 11.11.1839 at All Souls, Saint Marylebone.

20.6.1840 Caroline Southey, Robert's new wife, wrote to Lord Ashley to explain why "one, if not two, of your Lordship's letters" had not been answered for "ten or twelve months"

"It is more than probable that public rumour has conveyed to you something of the sad truth - that serious indisposition of the most afflicting nature has for many months incapacitated Mr Southey from all use of his pen, all literary application, all continuance of his extensive correspondence. No specific disease of any kind having manifested itself unequivocally, his brother and physician, Dr Henry Southey, encouraged me to hope that, as the debilitating effects of repeated attacks of influenza wore off, his constitution would gradually right itself, and the mind (then affected only by sympathetic languor) recover its healthful tone.

On this hope I lived till within the last few months - till the sad conviction pressed itself upon me, that all rational ground for it was giving way. That 'the night when no man can work' was closing on my husband's life of moral usefulness, and that though, with care, his existence may be many years prolonged in this state of being, I must look heavenward only, beyond 'the pale and grave of death' for the restoration which will then be perfect and indestructible"

1840-1841 Drs Southey and [Thomas] Mayo [1790-1871] carried out, for the Home Secretary, an investigation into allegations against Bethlem. The Lancet described them as very respectable physicians who had the leisure to become learned, but whose qualifications for the investigation were entirely unknown to the medical profession.

"Neither... has evinced the slightest disposition to reform abuses"

As staunch anti-medical reformers they might be expected to make common cause with "that hot-bed of corruption" the Bethlem Hospital Committee. Their report was not an impartial, judicial document, but a one-sided, ex parte piece of special pleading. The home Secretary was urged to institute a real inquiry, instead of one "by two convicted whitewashers" (Lancet editorial 23.1.1841)

23.8.1842 SOUTHEY INQUIRY COMMISSIONER (aged 58) Timeline 1842

1843: Death of Robert Southey

NAMED IN 1845 ACT (aged 61)
Timeline 1845

On 27.8.1845 the Secretary informed the Board that, Prichard, had been appointed in place of Southey, who had resigned.

1859 SCHC 21.3.1859: Dr Henry Herbert Southey called in:

"You are one of the Medical Visitors in Lunacy?" "Yes"

"Have you been so long?" "ever since the Act passed". (p.129)

Southey and Bright both retired as Chancery Visitors in September 1862, taking advantage of the pension provisions of 1862 Chancery Lunatics Act, which became law on 7.8.1882. Their replacements had already been appointed. Dr William Charles Hood and Dr John Charles Bucknill were appointed on 9.8.1862.

Dr Southey was born 18.1.1784, so he was seventy-eight (as the 1862 Act states) when he retired. If he was appointed immediately the 1833 Act was passed, he had just served twenty-nine years when he retired.

28.1.1864: Reginald Southey married

13.6.1865 Henry Herbert died at 1 Harley Street. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery. 1 Harley Street became Reginald Southey's address

26.3.1866 Sir Thomas Watson's obituary Address to the College of Physicians [Quoted in Munk)]

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M5 Thomas Drever MD (Edinburgh) LRCP (London)
Commissioner 1828-1830

General reference: Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons 1818. This has a five page (pages 402-407) biography (see below). The short biography in Munk's Roll, which has given me the framework for this biography, was probably based on the 1818 biography.

Born about 1773 in the Orkney Islands. [Drever appears to be an Orkney name]

His general education was at Marischal College, Aberdeen.

This was the University of the "New Town" of Aberdeen. Kings was the University of the Old Burgh. (external link to university history).
See under Hume about Scottish education

Drever commenced the study of medicine under Dr Livingstone of Aberdeen before moving to Edinburgh. from which he graduated MD 12.9.1798 with a thesis on Pneumonia - Dissertatio medica inauguralis, de pneumonia; : quam, ... pro gradu doctoris, ... eruditorum examini subjicit Thomas Drever, Scotus Orcadensis. Printed by Alex Smellie, Edinburgh, 1798. 34 pages.

A Thomas Drever from the Orkney Islands graduated MD Edinburgh in 1818 with a thesis on Diarrhoea (Edinburgh Graduates in Medicine 1705-1866, published 1867) [Tentamen medica inauguralis, quaedam de diarrhoea complectens by Thomas Drever. Edinburgh: J. Moir. 1818. 20 pages.

Drever first practised in Buxton and Macclesfield and the five page biography of him in Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons 1818 explains that he built up a fashionable cliental at the Derbyshire spas as the basis for becoming a society physician in London.

Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London 12.4.1813. Shortly afterwards he moved to London.

Address 1818 Lower Grosvenor Street.

9.8.1828 DREVER METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged about 55) Timeline 18281828
Drever was the only one of the four medical commissioners who did not sign the 1829 Report.
(3.4.1 table one). There is no record of his visiting. (3.4.2 table two).

In 1841 (Court Directory?), a "Dr Drever" was listed at 29 Park Street, Grosvenor Square. However, I could not find a Drever listed as a physician in the commercial directories (from 1837?) or in the medical directories (1845 following). It appears, therefore, that he retired from practice in the 1830s.

There was no listing at all in the 1846 Post Office Guide.

8.9.1849 Drever died, aged seventy six, at St James's Square. (1850 medical directory p.473)

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M6 Edward James Seymour MD FRCP
Commissioner 1830-1839

Physician to His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex

Born 30.3.1796

The third son of William Seymour of 65 Margaret Street, Cavendish Square, an "attorney at law", at some time resident in Brighton for thirty years and chairman of Sussex Quarter Sessions. (DNB). Munk uses the term "a London solicitor" instead of attorney at law.

The address of William Seymour, the partner of Robert Browne, the first clerk of the Metropolitan Commission, was 19 Margaret Street. The coincidence of name, street and profession suggests some relationship.

Edward Seymour was educated at Richmond School, Surrey and Jesus College, Cambridge. BA June 1816, MA 1819

4.9.1817 Married Maria Searancke of Clapton. They had ten children: six sons and four daughters. Their eldest son was Charles Frederick Seymour

He sometime studied medicine in London, Edinburgh and Paris (DNB)

"He spent some years in Italy, chiefly at Florence, where he was extensively consulted and made many influential English friends, who were afterwards of great service to him" Munk

DNB: He began his career in Italy because physicians could not, by law, practise in London under the age of twenty- six. He made a large income in Italy and formed a [my emphasis] connection that was of advantage to him in later life.

30.3.1822 Seymour twenty-six.

1822 Licence to practise from Cambridge University

1823 Seymour returned to England

Inceptor candidate, Royal College of Physicians, 22.12.1823

He established himself at 23 George Street, Hanover Square (1830 map), and soon acquired a good practice. [Link to modern map, Hanover Square]. The earliest directory I checked was 1837. This showed Seymour at 13 Charles Street, Berkley Square, Mayfair - Which is the address he died at. (1830 map). Charles Street runs parallel to Curzon Street, where Halford lived.

28.11.1828 Elected physician to St George's Hospital. He held this post until 1846 or 1847 and rose to be senior physicain.

7.8.1830 SEYMOUR METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged 34) Timeline 18301830

He made his first five visits with two other metropolitan commissioners, which was such an unusual pattern (see 3.4.2 table two) as to suggest he was being trained.

May 1831 Croonian Lecturer Royal College of Physicians: On these lectures he based Observations on the medical treatment of insanity, published in 1832. This was principally concerned with organic causes and physical treatments. Seymour opposed the tendency to send all insane patients to madhouses and believed a substantial minority would benefit from a return to their home surroundings . He complained that this "department of science" was left to doctors

"who resign the care of other disease" and "lose the power of investigating the abberations of intellect in conjunction with the other functional diseases of the human frame".

In his own practice, he

"devoted much of his time and attention to insanity". "He was one of the first who used opium freely in the treatment of disease". (Munk)

Munk says that he specialised in the domestic treatment of insanity following his appointment as a commissioner. (Which Munk wrongly dates September 1836)

1835 Seymour published an article on "...some cases of mental derangement, successfully treated by the acetate of morphia . Morphia (Morphine) is the alkaloid of Opium which may be an acetate, a sulphate or a muriate. It was isolated from opium in 1803, by a German apothecary, Serturner, who named it after Morpheus, the god of dreams.

1836-1839 3.6.2 table: He was far less often employed than other Metropolitan Commissioners.

1840: Not re-appointed as a Metropolitan Commissioner
Cornwallis Hewett appointed in his place.

17.8.1842 Robert Peel returned to London in the midst of anxiety about the plug riots, and consulted Dr Seymour

"about pains in his head from which he had been suffering and on his advice had been immediately cupped, with beneficial results" (Gash, N. 1953 p.346)

Nick Hervey says (1996 pages 145-146, no reference) that "E.J. Seymour was privately caring for Sir Robert Peel's mad brother" in single lodgings.

1847 Thoughts on the Nature and Treatment of Several Severe Diseases of the Human Body included a chapter (one quarter of the book) "On Mental Derangement". Major themes of this were that doctors should attempt treating insanity at home before resorting to an asylum, and that returning asylum patients home before full recovery often led to recovery.

1849 A dispute became public in which Seymour was accused of sending anonymous letters to Dr W.E. Chambers and his daughter. (See Lancet 9.4.1849)

1859 Seymour published a letter addressed to Lord Shaftesbury on the laws which regulate Private Lunatic Asylums in which he included a comparison of the writ De lunatico inquirendo in England with the law of "Interdiction", in France, as well as observations on the causes of insanity and improvement in its treatment during the last twenty-five years.

"Broken health and broken fortunes obscured his latter days. He died after an illness of great suffering from organic disease of the stomach and liver on 6th April 1866, aged 70" Munk

1881 Census: Edward Seymour, Rector of Bratton Clovelly, Devon, possessed a lithograph and a wax bust of his father Edward James Seymour. (DNB). (Rev) Edward Seymour was born about 1825. [Christened?] St George's, Hanover Square.

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M7 Cornwallis Hewett MD FRCP
Commissioner 1839-1840

Born about 1789 in the East Indies.

"After a good scholastic education" he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. BA 1809. He was elected to a fellowiship of Downing College (founded 1800) and removed there. MA 1812

13.9.1812 Christening at Saint Mary-St Marylebone Road, Saint Marylebone, London, of his half brother, Prescott Gardner Hewett (1812- 1891): Father William Hewett, Mother Sarah

Prescott Gardner Hewett "lived for some years in early life in Paris, and started on a career as an artist, but abandoned it for surgery. He entered St George's Hospital, London (where his half-brother, Dr Cornwallis Hewett, was physician from 1825 to 1833) becoming demonstrator of anatomy and curator of the museum. He was the pupil and intimate friend of Sir B. C. Brodie, and helped him in much of his work. Eventually he rose to be anatomical lecturer, assistant-surgeon and surgeon to the hospital." (1911 Encyclopedia)

14.7.1814 Cornwallis Hewett appointed Downing Professor of Physic. In 1841 he was still shown as having Medical Lodge, Downing College, Cambridge as his address, as well as his London address. His London address (by 1838 was 17 Bolton Street (off Curzon Street), Mayfair.

26.12.1815: Inceptor candidate, Royal College of Physicians.

1818 Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons states that he is resident in Cambridge, not London.

1822 MD Cambridge

19.8.1822 Candidate, Royal College of Physicians.

12.4.1824 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians

25.2.1825: Physician to St George's Hospital, London - As was Seymour from 1828 - But Corwallis resigned in 1833

11.1.1827 A Cornwallis Hewitt married Julia Anne Bosanquil Franks at Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

20.1.1832 Gazetted Physician Extraordinary to William 4th

Nick Harvey (1987) says that Cornwallis Hewett was Chancery Visitor from 1839 to 1841. William MacMichael, who I think he replaced, died on 10.1.1839. Cornwallis died 13.9.1841. He was succeded by Bright

10.9.1839 HEWETT METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged about 52) Timeline 1839

3.6.2 table: He did not visit much

13.9.1841 Died (still "of Bolton Street") at Brighton, aged 54. (The Gentleman's Magazine October 1841, page 444 and Munk)

1877 Prescott Gardner Hewett made serjeant-surgeon extraordinary to Queen Victoria

1881 Census: Entry clearly Prescott Gardner Hewett, even though names and dates differ.

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M8 Thomas Waterfield MD FRCP
Commissioner 1841-1845

Born 1789. Died 5.3.1871

Admitted fellow commoner, Christ's College, Cambridge. Matriculated Lent 1820.

1825: MB

Licence to practise from Cambridge 12.6.1826 according to the RCP Annals for 4.5.1827, but 1827 according to A.Ca..

1831 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. 1833: Censor

London Addrees from 1841 or earlier to his death in 1871: 17 South Terrace, near Thurloe Square, Brompton, South Kensington.

14.9.1841 WATERFIELD METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged about 52) Timeline 1841

23.8.1842 WATERFIELD METROPOLITAN COMMISSIONER (aged about 53) Timeline 1842

At least from 1848, Waterfield was one of two consulting physicians to the Public Dispensary for the Relief of Sick Poor at their Homes, 4 Bishops Court (and/or) 6 Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn (modern map - 1830 map)

The dispensary, established in 1782, gave medical and surgical advice and dispensed medicine to the sick poor from all parts. It had over 5,000 patients a year, although less than one in five were relieved in their own homes. In the early 1850s its income was about £890, but it owed £500 to the bank. As well as the consultant physician, it had two physicians, a surgeon, consulting surgeon, apothecary, secretary and treasurer (Low's Charities 1854)

By 1851, Waterfield was also consulting physician to The Reliance Assurance Office. (medical directory)

Medical member of the Metropolitan Commission and Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M9 James Cowles Prichard MD (Edin), FRS, MD (Ox)
Inquiry Commissioner 1842-1845
Lunacy Commissioner (in place of Southey) 1845-1848
A specialist in insanity
Prichard died in office 22.12.1848. He was replaced by Samuel Gaskell, an asylum superintendent

Born Ross, Herefords 11.2.1786. The eldest son of Thomas and Mary Prichard, both members of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). His father was "engaged in commercial life with a firm of iron and tin-plate merchants in Bristol".

external link to "Mr Bean" family tree that blends information from this site
with information from other sources about James Cowles Prichard's relations.

In 1793 James was sent to school in Bristol for a short time, but his early education was mainly at home under a series of tutors supervised by his father. The emphasis seems to have been on languages, particularly French. Quakers at this time were encouraged to protect their children from education by "worldly" books and tutors and to encourage the study of the Bible and Quaker authors. Modern languages, however, were encouraged by the Society.

At some time his family moved to Bristol (DNB). Mat(t?)hew's Bristol Dir. 1799-1800 shows two Thomas Prichards, one in Park Street, the other a "Brush-maker" at 21 Bridge Street.

1802: Became a student of medicine in Bristol (DNB). Leigh: Attended a series of lectures by Dr Thomas Pole, an American Quaker, whose course included surgery, botany, chemistry, physics, the use of the globe, midwifery, optics and astronomy, and was called "The Economy of Nature". In the summer he continued his medical education (A.Ca.) under Mr Tothill and Dr Pope, also Quakers (Leigh).

September 1804: Attended St Thomas's Hospital (London?) (See Lancet obituary).

Edinburgh and Anthropology

September 1805: Edinburgh University where, according to a student friend, speculation about the varieties of the human race became the "continual occupation of his mind" (Leigh). MD 1808.

Prichard's 150 page thesis, De Generis Humani Varitate, was about three times the length of the average Edinburgh thesis. Over the years he re-wrote and expanded it into successive editions of: Researches into the Physical History of Man (1813); 1826: 2 vols with plates, 1838: 3 vols; 1841 Illustrations for; 1841-18477: 4th edition, 5 vols with coloured plates, maps etc).

Leaving the Quakers

Admitted pens, Trinity college Cambridge 13.10.1808. Matriculated Lent 1809 (A.Ca.). Cambridge, unlike Oxford, allowed dissenters to study there (although not to graduate). Whilst at Cambridge he left the Quakers and became an Anglican. He probably studied mathematics and theology at Cambridge. (Leigh) (See Lancet obituary). In 1809 he studied at Oxford, residing first at St. John's, then at Trinity (Leigh). He matriculated from St John's 3.6.1809 (A.Ox.)


Practised as a Bristol physician from 1810, devoting his spare tome to ethnology (DNB).

In Bristol Dir shown (Red Lodge, Park Row) as one of 24 Bristol Physicians; one of 3 physicians to St Peter's Hospital, Peter St., and one of four to the Infirmary, Marlborough St., St James's. Leigh says it was "many years before his practice amounted to anything". (Leigh p 154)

Married Anne Maria Estlin 28.2.1811 (DNB). They had 10 children.

On 11.8.1811 elected physician to St Peter's Hospital described in the Dir. as the General Hospital for the poor of the whole city. It had,

    "a ward for lunatics. Vagrants and beggars are taken up and sent thither, and conveyed to their respective parishes. It is supported by an annual assessment on all houses and land in the city."

After the publication of the Researches (1813) his medical practice began to build up. Eventually he had a very considerable private practice purely as a physician on consultations. He drew a strict line between the work of surgeons and the consultative work appropriate to physicians (Leigh p.154).

On 29.2.1814 elected physician to the Infirmary. This was one of a number of medical charities in Bristol. It admitted casualty cases "immediately", "without regard to country, colour or dialect". Those labouring under acute or chronic disorders required a note from a subscriber (1830 Dir).


1819: 1st edition An Analysis of the Egyptian Mythology (2nd: 1823; 3rd: 1838; each enlarged)

1822: Treatise on Diseases of the Nervous System. Part One. Convulsive and Maniacal Affections (Part 2 never published)

    "The books is largely a collection of cases, with an attempt at a broad classification which owes most to Sauvages, the French nosographer, and to Pinel" (Leigh)

During 1826 he refused to consult with Dr David Davies FRCP on the grounds that as Davis was a surgeon on the staff of St Peter's he should not consult as a physician. Davies published a pamphlet maintaining a physician was perfectly entitled to act as a surgeon. (Leigh p.155)

FRS 1827 (A.Ca.)

1829 Review of the Doctrine of a Vital Principle "A small octavo work, dedicated to the patrons of the Bristol Philosophical Institution, of which he was one of the founders, and where he frequently gave lectures" (Lancet obituary). It was an expansion of a lecture given to the Bristol Literary and Philosophical Society and maintained that only the presence of a divine Intelligence could account for the life principle (Leigh). He was a frequent lecturer at the Bristol Institution. Leigh reproduces a handbill for a series of 3 lectures in 1834 undertaken when an Egyptian Mummy was made available to be publicly opened.

1831: On the Treatment of Hemiplegia, and Particularly on an Important Remedy in some Diseases of the Brain published in the Medical Gazette. It dealt with the treatment of insanity by a scalp incision kept open by peas. Dr J.A. Symonds read a paper by Prichard on the same subject at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Bristol in 1836. (Tuke, D.H. 1891 p24 and DNB)

MD (Oxford), by diploma from Trinity college 3.7.1835. He had delivered the address at the 3rd annual meeting of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, held in Oxford. The President that year was the Regius Professor of medicine who handed the diploma to Prichard at the conclusion of the address (Leigh p.157)

A Treatise on Insanity

1833: 1st volume (A to ELE) of The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine published, edited by John Forbes, Alexander Tweedie and Conolly (4.4.2) with 67 contributors, all physicians. The final volume was published 1835 (Hunter and MacAlpine's Conolly, vol.1, pp 12 + 14).

Tweedie and Conolly were friends of Prichard (Leigh) who wrote the articles on: Delirium, Hypochondriasis, Insanity, Somnambulism and Animal Magnetism, Soundness and Unsoundness of Mind, and Temperament. He wrote several chapters on similar subjects in a work called the Library of Medicine (Lancet obituary).

Whilst engaged in writing these articles, Prichard became convinced of a need for a comprehensive treatise on the contemporary treatment of insanity (Leigh).

Published 1835 A Treatise on Insanity and Other Disorders Affecting the Mind 500pp. This was dedicated to the French psychiatrist, John Etienne Dominique Esquirol and drew mainly on French sources. In it he elaborated his concept of "moral insanity" which he had first described in the Insanity article in the Cyclopaedia. (Hunter, R.A. and Macalpine, I. 1963 pp 836-7).


Prichard had learnt German to study German history and philosophy. In 1815 he and a friend had published a translation of Muller's General History. (Leigh p. 202)
1837 A German translation of Analysis of Egyptian Mythology. Through mutual interest in Egyptology, he and the Prussian diplomat, Christian Karl Josias (Baron) Bunsen, became "great friends" (Leigh) Bunsen came to London in 1841 on a special mission concerning the proposed Anglo-Prussian bishopric in Jerusalem. Ashley (H3) was a central figure in the negotiations for the bishopric which was established in the autumn. In 1842 Bunsen became Prussian ambassador in London. In 1843 Prichard published his Natural History of Man. He dedicated it to Bunsen, beginning the dedication "My Dear Friend".

Prichard and Samuel Hitch

Prichard was one of the Gloucestershire medical visitors for licensed houses (Lancet obituary).

He was also a correspondent of Samuel Hitch, the Resident Superintendent of Gloucestershire County Asylum, who strongly supported his concept of moral insanity (See Leigh, D. 1961 p.183). Prichard was one of the first members of Hitch's "Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane", founded at Gloucester in July 1841 (Tuke, D.H. 1891 p.24). He attended the York conference in 1844 and may have attended earlier ones.


Prichard is believed to have remained a resident of Bristol during the Inquiry and to have maintained his positions and activities there. Besides his extensive engagements in Bristol he had a large consulting practice in the surrounding counties and South Wales (Lancet obituary). Dr Hitch (see above) was at this time agitating the cause of Welsh pauper lunatics who, he said, were without any asylum. In a footnote to an article in The Lancet he added, however: "Since this was written, Dr Prichard, of Bristol, has informed me, that there is a lunatic asylum near Haverfordwest" (Lancet 5.10.1842 p. 103).

St Peters, Bristol; Haverfordwest and the condition of Welsh pauper lunatics, figured prominently in the 1844 Report.

In 1842 he published On the Different Forms of Insanity in Relation to Jurisprudence in which he tried to avoid all technicalities and medical terms not absolutely necessary. The book applied his concepts to criminal lunacy just when trials such as those of Oxford, Bean and McNaughton (4.6 + 4.7) were making the application of psychiatry to crime a highly controversial issue.

A letter from Prichard on drunkenness and lunacy was used by Ashley in his speech on education (4.6).

Prichard's library contained a copy of the 1844 Report of the commissioners "with MSS Papers by Dr Prichard one of them" (Booksellers list in Leigh, p 205, item 10242).


On 27.8.1845 the Secretary informed the Board that, "Dr James Cowles Prichard of Bristol", had been appointed in place of Southey who had resigned. He had been sworn in at Bath by Gordon, Turner and Procter (MH50). As those three made a night visit to Kingsdowne House, Box in Wiltshire (six miles from Bath) on 23.8.1845 I assume they made use of the opportunity to swear Prichard. (See CH.R. respecting date of appointment) He first attended a Board 3.9.1845 (MH50). Tuke, D.H. 1891 p.25 says he moved to London on appointment as Lunacy Commissioner.

On 22.6.1847 he made an address to the Ethnological Society of London. He was President of the society at the time of his death (DNB)

October 1847: Inquiry into Haydock Lodge

August 1848: Haydock Lodge problems continue

Monday 4.12.1848. Seized with a severe feverish attack whilst visiting asylums near Salisbury. Confined in Salisbury until December 17th when he was conveyed to his own house in London.

    "The fever proved to be of a rheumatic and gouty character baffling all the efforts of medical skill, and terminating his life, after much suffering, by pericarditis" [inflammation of the membrane containing the heart] "and extensive suppuration in the knee joint" (Lancet obituary).

He died on 22.12.1848 (aged 62) at his home in Woburn Place, Russell Square, (Lancet 30.12.1848 p 730)

INCONSISTENT DATES Adm. to Edinburgh September 1805 in DNB and Leigh, but 1806 in A.Ca. Appointments to St Peter's and the Infirmary dates taken from DNB. Other sources give other years. Lancet obituary has a different account of Prichard's MA (Ox) which I believe is incorrect. All biographical sources agree there were only three editions of the Researches. The 4th is listed with the details I give on the Booksellers list in Leigh.

Chap. 3 of Leigh, Dennis 1961 is an illustrated biography of Prichard with outlines of his works. DNB's 4 col.biography is by Daniel Hack Tuke.

Medical member of the Inquiry Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M10 Francis Bisset Hawkins MD FRCP FRS (18.12.1834)
Inquiry Commissioner 1842-1845
A medical statistician

Born St James's, Westminster 1796 (Boase), the son of Mr Adair Hawkins, a distinguished London surgeon. Educated at the schools of Dr Burney and Morris and at Eton (Munk). Then Exeter college Oxford BA 1818, MA 1821, MB 1822, MD 1825, inceptor candidate Royal College of Physicians 28.3.1825, candidate 22.12.1825, FRCP 22.12.1826 Censor 1830. Gulstonian lecturer 1828, Lumleian lecturer 1835.

Medical Statistician

Gulstonian lectures were given by one of the four youngest fellows of the Royal College of Physicians. Hawkins chose "Medical Statistics" as his subject and, in 1829, published The Elements of Medical Statistics, enlarging on the lectures and bringing together what records of disease and death were obtainable about various communities. He found them "proof of the empire of human art over disease".


King's College, London was founded in 1829 as an Anglican reaction to the non-denominational University of London opened in 1826. Bisset Hawkins was its Professor of Materia Medica from 1830 to 1835. In 1831, when cholera was threatening St Petersburg, he published The History of the Epidemic Spasmodic Cholera of Russia, "a serviceable collection of facts, so far as they could be learned, respecting the march of the disease from India through Russia" and concluding with an account of the establishment of a Board of Health for England with Henry Halford at its head. (Royal Society Obituary).

Factory investigator

In 1833, in a hasty but successful attempt to defeat the ten hours (factory) bill, the employers, via Wilson Patten, MP, secured a Commission:

    "to collect information in the manufacturing districts with respect to the employment of children in factories, and to devise the best means of curtailing their labour".
It was given a mere six weeks to report. Three Commissioners: Thomas Tooke, Chadwick and Southwood Smith sat in London issuing instructions and examining evidence collected by Assistant Commissioners. They divided the industrial districts into four areas, to each of which they sent two civil and a medical assistant commissioner. (HAMMOND, 1936 pp 26-7). The assistants are alleged to have been selected in a very casual manner from amongst the personal contacts of Ministers (LLEWELLYN ** pp 112-3). Hawkins was medical commissioner in the North East and in his report
    "strongly recommended the diminution of the hours of labour for children and women; and suggested the creation of public gardens and parks at Manchester" (Munk).

Thomas Tooke, (1774-1858) Economist. He and James Mill founded the Political Economy Club in 1821. On Royal Commission on employment in mines etc set up on motion of Ashley (H3) in 1840.

Edwin Chadwick, born Manchester 1801, died 1890. Barrister 1830. Assistant Commissioner for the Poor Law Inquiry (1832-1834). His report (1833) "laid the foundation of the later systems of government inspection" [Chambers]. Secretary to the Poor Law Commissioners from 18th August 1834. 1842: Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain. 1844-1845: Unofficially directed the affairs of the Health of Towns Commission. 1848-1854 Commissioner. at Board of Health with Ashley and Southwood Smith

Thomas Southwood Smith, b.1788, d.1861. From 1824 physician to the London Fever Hospital, Battle Bridge (now under King's Cross Station). 1830: A Treatise on Fever. On Royal Commission on the Poor Laws. Commissioner Board of Health (1848-1854?) March 1850

Prison Inspector

The 1835 Prison Act enabled the Home Office to appoint four inspectors of the prisons run by JPs. Viscount Howick explained that the Prison Bill was like the Poor Law Amendment Act, because it intended to leave:

    "the actual detailed administration to local authorities, but to subject them to the supervision and control of some central authority, who should see that the duties were efficiently performed" Hansard, 30, 1835, cols 401-4 quoted ROBERTS D. 1960 p. 47

Hawkins resigned his professorship to become one of the inspectors.
He was the author of the Reports on the Prisons of the Southern and Western Districts of England from 1836 to 1842 (Munk). I have not been able to establish how long he was formally a prison inspector.

The inspectors seem to have been divided by rival allegiances to the "silent" and "separate" systems of prison discipline. In his reports he:

    "laboured to restrain and limit the disposition which existed in powerful quarters to adopt in all its entirety and rigour and duration the American system of solitary imprisonment" (Munk)

He was said to have prevented "serious sanitary mistakes by the Government of the time in its dealings with prisoners" (Royal Society Obituary).

National Registration

When, in 1836, national civil registration of births, deaths and marriages was established, he was,

    "in a position in the counsels of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Government to speak with authority in favour of a proposal to record the fatal disease in the death register". (Royal Society Obituary).
The entry was at first voluntary and then compulsory. Through the work of William Farr these returns were to "produce important additions to medical and statistical science" (Munk)


In 1838, Bisset Hawkins published Germany, the Spirit of her History, Literature, National Economy and Social Condition - illustrated by reference to her physical, moral, and political statistics, and by comparison with other countries (German edition published 1839). At a time when centralized government was seen largely as a feature of "despotic" continental powers, to be resisted in England at all costs, he urged the English to study the "State Economy" of Prussia and its concern for the medical and educational needs of the working population.


1847-1848 Government Commissioner for Pentonville Prison. 1858 Appointed Deputy Lieutenant, Dorset. (Munk)

ADDRESSES: 30 Golden Square, Soho (Preface Medical Statistics 1829 without number 1846 POG) Registered 1.1.1859 14 Harley St (Medical Register 1869+1878), died Foxcote, Bournemouth 7.12.1894.

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M11 Samuel Gaskell Member Royal College of Surgeons Honorary FRCS
Commissioner 1849-1866
Appointed in place of Prichard. Gaskell was possibly the most influential commissioner in the commission's history. A road accident in 1865 forced his early retirement on 20.6.1866 due to "mental infirmity".

Samuel Gaskell was the first Resident Superintendent of an asylum to be appointed a Lunacy Commissioner.

This biography has six parts:

A) Early life
B) 1840 Resident Superintendent Lancaster County Asylum
C) The Asylum Doctors' Association
D) Commissioner
E) Wet beds
F) The Lancet January 1849

(A) Early life
Unless otherwise stated, this section is based on his
Asylum Journal obituary, supplemented by material from MacKenzie and Hervey 1996 biography and communications from from Richard Renold and Frank Emmett. Richard Renold provided a detailed family tree.

Samuel Gaskell was born in Warrington, Lancashire, on 10.1.1807 and was baptised at Sankey Street Unitarian Chapel on 15.2.1807. He was the second son of Margaret (born 26.3.1780 - later Dimmock - died 12.1.1850) and William Gaskell (born 28.3.1777), a sailcloth manufacturer, who died 15.3.1809. Samuel's older brother, William, was born Latchford, near Warrington, on 24.7.1805. One of their sisters, Elizabeth (born 21.9.1812, died 1892) married Charles Holland (1799-1870) in 1838.

In early life, Samuel wanted to be a doctor, but the family doctor discouraged this because of the "weakness of his eyes, caused by an attack of measles". Instead he was apprenticed for seven years to a Liverpool publisher and bookseller. He had there access to "the best literature of the day", including medical literature. When important news arrived from America he was employed to take it to London by post-chaise and used the long journeys for reading.

Margaret Gaskell, Samuel's mother, married Edward Robinson Dimmock, a unitarian Minister, at the Parish Church of St Elphin, Warrington. on 6.11.1823. William Gaskell was appointed the junior minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester in August 1828. The present chapel is Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester. Originally Presbyterian, The first minister was Henry Newcome (1627-1695).

As Samuel continued to want to be a doctor his master freed him from several years of his apprenticeship freeing him "to follow his original bent"

"He went through the necessary curriculum at Manchester and Edinburgh, and having obtained his degree he was shortly afterwards appointed Resident Medical Officer in the Cholera Hospital at Stockport"
Samuel Gaskell became a Member Royal College of Surgeons on 15.6.1832 (Plarr) - It was shortly after this he was appointed resident medical officer at Stockport Cholera Hospital.

Frank Emmett points out that a Samuel Gaskell was appointed on 2.7.1832 to assist E. Lynch at the Swan Street cholera hospital in Manchester. He wrote a paper, "Remarks on the Malignant Cholera as it Appeared in Manchester" published in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal in July 1833 in which he refers to himself as "lately Resident Surgeon at the Swan Street Cholera Hospital"

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson (born 1810) (weblinks) married William Gaskell on 30.8.1832. Elizabeth Gaskell died in 1865. William died 11.6.1884.

Manchester Royal Infirmary and Lunatic Asylum

In 1834 Samuel was elected house apothecary to Manchester Royal Infirmary and Lunatic Asylum The physician Dr Bardsley wrote in his reference in 1841:-

    "I have had the most ample opportunities of judging of his talents, diligence, unwearied application to his duties, practical knowledge and moral conduct. I can most conscientiously state that it is impossible for any public medical officer to have excelled him in the exercise of these qualities".

January 1837 Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell's "Sketches Among the Poor," No. 1, published in Blackwood's Magazine. On 15.11.1838 Samuel Gaskell's sister, Elizabeth Gaskell, married Charles Holland (born Liverpool 12.6.1799), a prosperous merchant, at the Registry Office in Warrington. They lived in Lancashire and Cheshire (where he was a JP). Charles Holland died 5.2.1870 in Rome (buried Liverpool). Elizabeth then moved to London. She was at Blandford Square, St Marylebone, until 1858 then at 7 Hyde Park Square, Paddington - Where she was in 1881

B) 1840 Resident Superintendent Lancaster County Asylum:

In 1840 Gaskell was appointed Resident Superintendent of the Lancashire County Asylum at Lancaster. This was the second largest asylum in England after Hanwell. In 1844 it had 611 patients, all paupers. When Gaskell was appointed (or soon after) the consultant physician was Dr E. D. De Vitre. An assistant surgeon, John Lancaster Broadhurst, appears to have been appointed about 1847.

Non Restraint

The non-restraint system (4.4.2) was introduced at Lancaster in 1840 (1844 Report p 140) and restraint was only used once (for 5 hours) between 1840 and 1845. As the system was introduced "gradually" (Hunter, R.A. and Macalpine, I. 1963 p. 958) it must be credited at least as much to his predecessors as to him. Conolly praised him because, at a time when other superintendents: "wrote against it, reasoned against it, expressed themselves angrily against it", Gaskell "devoted.. time to observing it". (Conolly, J. 1856 pp 295-6). Even in 1844 he was not dogmatically committed to the system. He considered the comfort of the patients and the general condition of the asylum had been improved since its adoption, but hesitated to give a decision entirely in its favour because he thought there were, "occasionally cases in which it may not only be necessary, but beneficial" (1844 Report p. 153)


    "The want of food is considered by the superintendent of the Lancaster Asylum to have been the exciting cause of insanity in many cases which have come under his care." (1844 Report p.119)

Phrenology, Classification and the Lancashire System

Like many asylum doctors of the time, Gaskell used phrenological concepts. He attempted:

    "to develop in his patients those faculties, of the mind which were not involved in the destructive process of the disease" (Plarr)

A feature of Lancaster was its classification system. Patients were associated in combinations designed to stimulate their healthy faculties. One in 5 were considered to have suicidal propensities and most of these were put in wards with "cheerful and watchful patients" (1844 Report pp 125-7 + 107). New patients were put with "orderly, active and quiet cases of longer standing", and active orderly ones, "capable of rendering assistance", in wards with the demented (1844 Report pp 126-7).

    "By every expression of kindness, by appearing to sympathise in the patients' imaginary sufferings, and by taking a deep interest in all his concerns" [the Lancashire doctors sought] "to soothe morbid irritation, and thus allow an opportunity of restoring the healthy action of the mind" (1844 Report pp 140-1)

(C) The Asylum Doctors' Association

Gaskell was, "a very warm promoter" of the first English association of asylum doctors.

The Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane (AMOAHI) was founded in 1841 to procure communication of asylum doctors by holding annual conferences in one another's asylums. The Association was initially a study group.

In response to a circular (19.6.1841) from Samuel Hitch MD of the Gloucestershire County Asylum, (See also 3.11.3 and Prichard and Hitch), 44 out of 83 doctors circularized agreed to belong, and six met at Gloucester Asylum on July 27th and 28th to assist in the formation. They were Hitch and Dr Shute (in the chair) of Gloucester, Dr Thomas Powell (Director and House Surgeon Nottinghamshire County Asylum), John Thurnam, MD (Superintendent York Retreat) and Dr F.T. Wintle of Warnford Asylum, Oxford. All had "progressive" reputations, but non was yet committed to complete non-restraint. Powell considered it "utopian".

The doctors decided to meet annually at a public or private asylum (*)

    "to ascertain and record as far as possible, the medical and moral treatment adopted"

* They tried to replace the name "asylum" by "hospital"

Papers and essays were to be read and a copy to be preserved in an MS book. The first conference was at Nottingham in November 1841 under the presidency of the asylum physician, Andrew Blake. (I have no record of attendance). He and Powell believed that:

    "judicious restraint will not unfrequently be found a powerful engine in the moral treatment of insanity" (See Lancet 12.12.1840 p.410)

and were committed to non-restraint when the commission visited in 1843, although restraint had only been used in 4 cases; "for surgical purposes", in the preceding year (1844 Report p.144). The conference nevertheless resolved:

    "That without pledging themselves to the opinion that Mechanical Restraint may not be found occasionally useful.. the members now present have the greatest satisfaction in recording their approbation of.. those gentlemen.. now engaged in endeavouring to abolish its use in all cases"

At the Nottingham conference a committee was formed to draw up a standard Register for use in asylums. (Partly to facilitate national statistics. See 3.11.1) The Register was approved at the next conference in 1842

The next conference met at Lancaster on 22.6.1842 when De Vitre presided.
In 1843 Gaskell, De Vitre, Dr Sutherland (St Lukes), G.S. Poynter (Kent) and Conolly (Hanwell, presiding) were amongst 8 members who met at "Morley's Hotel", London and spent 3 days visiting Hanwell, St Lukes, and the Kent and Surrey County Asylums. The asylum managements provided rooms and in some cases, entertained the members substantially". The only public asylum in the London area that refused them a visit was Bethlem, which, The Lancet commented,

    "accords with the usual proceedings in a public institution where there is something very wrong.. to conceal."

The Lancet also thought the "quiet and unassuming manner", in which the association attempted to, "detect.. errors, and amend the pathology of mental disorders", indicated, "good sense" (Lancet 8.7.1843 p.522). It did not, however, get publicity. The Lancet's columns resound with vitriolic debates over non-restraint, but the occasional notices of the association are difficult to find!

Neither Gaskell nor De Vitre attended the 1844 conference at York Retreat.

I have not found records of the meetings from 1845 to 1852, but Gaskell did not withdraw from the association when he became a commissioner. His apologies were recorded in 1854 when he missed a conference because he had not noticed its date in the Asylum Journal; and on 2.7.1857 he was present at a conference lunch. In April 1860 the Journal of Mental Science published a 7 page article by "S. Gaskell Esq. Commissioner in Lunacy" with two titles: "On the Early Treatment of Insanity", and, "On the want of better Provision for the Labouring and Middle Classes When Attacked or Threatened With Insanity" (Asylum Journal Vol.6, No.3 pp 321-7)

When he was appointed commissioner, thirty two Association members signed a letter of congratulation:

    "feeling highly gratified at the selection.. of you, the superintendent of the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum, and a member of this association (Lancet 5.5.1849 p. 466)

They made him one of their first honorary members (One of only 3 names on the first published list. Asylum Journal 2.7.1855). In later years they protested vehemently when doctors without asylum experience were appointed; regarding commissionerships as:

    "a reward to a good and tried superintendent as fitting and dignified as it is remunerative" (Huxley in Asylum Journal Oct. 1858)

"Indignant letters" were sent to the Asylum Journal when Nairne was appointed in 1857 and the editor wrote that it was, "a great disappointment" to:

    "men who upon small stipends devote their lives to onerous and harassing duties, in the hope that some day they may draw one of the legitimate prizes of their professional career" (Asylum Journal Oct 1857, pp 127- 8)

Similar distress was felt about the appointment of Reginald Southey in 1883.

In fact the appointment of superintendents became the rule in two out of three cases after 1849. This created a bond between the asylum doctors and the commission, not only because of material interest, but because the association doctors generally approved the policies the commission consequently pursued in the asylums (see below). At Derby in 1856 the proposer of the sub-committee to respond to and influence lunacy legislation hoped it would work with the commission as an ally. This conference conferred honorary membership on the other two medical commissioners (Wilkes and Hume and sent Lutwidge (L4) congratulations on his promotion. Subsequently medical commissioners were awarded honorary membership on appointment, almost as a formality, and the honour was even conferred on some legal commissioners (Including Spring-Rice (L7) in 1866 after his retirement).

(See Asylum Journal 1855-8. Lists of members; Accounts of conferences, especially that of 1.8.1856, Asylum Journal Oct 1856, Vol.3 no. 19, etc)

Journal and changing names for the Asylum Doctor's Association

The Journal of Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane was founded in 1853 by Dr Bucknill, medical superintendent of Devon County Asylum.

In 1854 the journal changed its name to the Asylum Journal of Mental Science

In 1856 an "acting sub-committee", was set up to give the association continuity between the annual conferences and allow it to influence legislation.

In 1859 the journal changed its name to the Journal of Mental Science.

In 1865 The Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane became the Medico-Psychological Association

In 1926 it became the Royal Medico Psychological Association

In 1971 it became the Royal College of Psychiatrists

The journal is now the British Journal of Psychiatry

October 1848 Date on Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell preface to Mary Barton, A Tale of Manchester Life. This preface says that, about three years previous, Elizabeth Gaskell had become anxious to write a work of fiction, and that the book was "completed above a year ago". My inference is that Mary Barton was composed between about October 1845 and October 1847.

D) Commissioner (aged 42)

Ashley reported to the Board on 4.1.1849 that he had offered the place to Gaskell. He was sworn at Turner's (M1) house on 9.1.1849 and attended his first board on 11.1.1849 (MH50). As Earl of Shaftesbury, Ashley was the special guest at the 36th Asylum Doctors Conference on 2.8.1881. He gave the following account of what had first attracted his attention to "my friend Mr Gaskell":

    "It happened to be the meat day when I visited the Lancaster asylum. To my astonishment I saw about forty women sitting at dinner, each with a child in her arms. I said "What is this?". "Well", he said, "it is an experiment I am making. Here are several women wanting occupation, and there are several children wanting care. So these women have the exclusive care of the children day and night"... It was his aim to develop in the women the great principle of maternal love - that these women should receive the blessing of children and the children receive the blessings of motherly care. I never was so pleased.. When I went away, I said, "By God's blessing, if ever I have the opportunity, that man shall be a Commissioner". When a vacancy occurred, I wrote to the Lord Chancellor and said, "I want to name a man to you". "Name your man", he replied, and he was at once accepted." (Asylum Journal Oct. 81 pp 444-5)

The Lord Chancellor that Ashley wrote to was Lord Cottenham, a Whig.

Gaskell was the first surgeon to be appointed commissioner. Prichard had been non-resident physician to Bristol, but Gaskell was the first resident asylum doctor to be appointed commissioner. He was also the first medical commissioner who was not a society doctor. Lancashire paid its asylum superintendents £350 to £400 a year (medical Dir 1854) so, even if we make a generous allowance for board, the change to £1,500 as commissioner must have been dramatic.

Asylum design

In succession to Prichard, who played a similar role, Gaskell became the commission's medical expert on asylum management and design. Procter, who had been a conveyancer, appears to have been the commission's legal specialist on the same subject.

From 1849 to 1855 Gaskell was the only commissioner with experience of running an asylum. His influence was pronounced and, though pleasantly exercised, controversial. He was,

    "a remarkably well-informed and painstaking official.. Proprietors and superintendents who did not look to minutely into the details for themselves were greatly surprised, and not at all pleased, to find the dignified commissioner looking into beds and cupboards, and all manner of uninvestigated places" (Plarr)

The force of his personality was manifest at his first board meeting. This was chaired by Gordon after Ashley left for the Board of Health. Turner, Procter and Mylne, the other commissioners present, had sworn Gaskell two days before. The main business was to inspect the plans of proposed asylums amongst which were plans of alteration, already approved by the commission, to the infirmaries and noisy wards for Wiltshire County Asylum (opened September 1851), which the architect, Wyatt, had brought in. Very exceptionally the board minuted the views of an individual commissioner:

    "Mr Gaskell intimated.. his opinion that the public entrance to an asylum should be turned towards the north - that none but visitors and medical officers should enter on the south side - and that the buildings and grounds towards the south should be appropriated as far as possible to the exclusive and undisturbed use and enjoyment of the patients."

Wyatt was called in and asked by Gordon (himself a Wilts JP) to communicate this suggestion to the asylum committee, although, "under the circumstances at this late stage of the business", they would not "insist upon or press" it. On February 5th the commission had a special meeting, "more especially about Mr Gaskell's idea", which Ashley, Gordon, all the professional commissioners and three of the consultant architects attended. At the conclusion Gaskell and the Secretary were requested to communicate with the asylums about the suggestion and report back (MH 50/3)

Margaret Dimmock, Samuel Gaskell's mother, died 12.1.1850 and was buried at Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel on 17.1.1850. Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell met Charlotte Bronte in 1850. Dickens started Household Words in March 1850 and continued editing it until May 1859. The lead story in the first number was "Lizzie Leigh" by Elizabeth Gaskell - who continued as an important contributer. In the Spring of 1853 Dickens published the first of many poems by Miss Mary Berwick, who turned out to be Adelaide Anne Procter, the daughter of Commissioner Procter

E) Wet beds and a threat to the English constitution

Gaskell's "greatest influence", according to his Asylum Journal obituary, was the drastic reduction of wet linen.

Early asylums stank from the urine of the "dirty patients". Straw was used in their cribs because it soaked up the urine and could be disposed of allowing some possibility of a dry bed. Even with the most careful attention to straw changing, however, a large volume of water was needed to keep an asylum free of the smell. Lancaster and Cornwall (and to a lesser extent Hanwell) had "considerable difficulty about the supply of water". The commissioners visiting Cornwall in 1843 found there had been a water shortage for a whole week. The "discomfort and evils resulting.. were very perceptible". (1844 Report p.16)

At Hanwell the doctors may have tried laxatives to defeat night soiling of the beds (1844 Report p.147. The first part of the relevant paragraph refers to confinement "with the limbs all at liberty" not defeating "dirty and disgusting practices". This seems clearly to indicate masturbation. The Report could mean, therefore, that assiduous attention to the calls of nature had been instituted at Lancaster in order to reduce masturbation. This seems improbable to me and I think the meaning is that the measures taken to reduce bed-wetting had also reduced masturbation. I also think the compilers of reports such as this tended to generalise dirt and confuse physical with what they saw as moral dirt).

At Lancaster Gaskell dealt with the problem of night soiling by instigating a complete revolution in management. The 1844 Report recorded that good effects had been achieved by:

    "by assiduously endeavouring to invite due attention to the calls of nature" (1844 Report p.147).

Gaskell's management revolution was reflected in the cash books which showed:

    "a sudden rush of buying; hardware, kitchen utensils, soap, candles and, "scouring liquours" [check spelling], were brought in large quantities"

From May to September 1842: £243 was spent on blankets, "and the former frequent indents for straw stopped completely" The commissioners visiting in Oct. 1842 minuted "unqualified approbation", commented on the "skill, zeal and attention" of the staff, and commented that "the bedding is good and sufficient, and is arranged with neatness on the bedsteads during the day" (JONES, 1972 p.134)

The Lancashire "turning out system" required a special night watch. Instead of day attendants doing night shifts, a night nurse was appointed who had to get to know, and win the confidence of, the patients. Those liable to dirty beds were, "aroused and placed in a condition to attend to the calls of nature at stated intervals". On the nights of February 3rd and 4th 1856, 45 patients were woken on the male side at Lancaster 4 times each night, at 8pm, 10pm, 2am and 4am (Asylum Journal October 1857, p.119).

Gaskell converted the commission; the commission converted many asylums. Described as "a vast step in asylum management", it was also said to have lead:

    "to a revolution in the system of night nursing.. with the general result of decreases of suicides, decreases of noise and violence at night, and a very general increase in the comforts and well-being of the inmates" (Plarr)

A Threat to the Constitution

Even in 1886 an obiturist had to admit that Gaskell's system was not carried out in every asylum. (Asylum Journal obituary). In 1857 James E. Huxley, superintendent at Kent, considered it cruel:

    "I do not think sane persons could bear to be aroused four times a night regularly.. and not lose first energy and then health" (Asylum Journal..

And he thought that the commissioners attempts to impose it were a threat to the English Constitution.

In 1857 Huxley was seeking a special "foul laundry". His asylum committee mentioned this to Campbell and Gaskell on 27.3.1857.

    "Mr Campbell immediately said that such a place ought not to be necessary, as the dirty habits of patients ought to be prevented"

and Gaskell confirmed that, "special night attendance could prevent dirty habits".

In May a report from Huxley to the committee was published: On the Plan for Getting Out Patients at Night to Keep them from Soiling their Beds. The committee accepted his arguments against the system and he got his foul laundry. Huxley sent a copy of the report to the Asylum Journal editor, Dr Bucknill of Devon County Asylum, who at first refused to publish, and when Huxley insisted it was his right as a member, published it with a preface explaining that he objected to its reflections on Gaskell who was:

    "one of the most experienced and practically successful of asylum superintendents. This ought never to be forgotten, even when the value of these opinions suffers deterioration by being averaged with that of other commissioners, who know nothing practically respecting the management of asylums, or the treatment of the insane" (Asylum Journal Oct 1857. The last point is a strange remark as Wilkes had been a commissioner since November 1855)

In the next issue he published a letter from John Buck, who Gaskell had persuaded to introduce his system at Leicester County Asylum 3 years before. He too had had reservations, but was now:

    "clearly of the opinion, that.. these cases are better of with their rest disturbed four times every night, with cleanliness, than if they had been permitted to have "sound sleep and plenty of it", with wet and dirty sheets next to their skins" (Asylum Journal January 1858)

Huxley, however, saw the commissioners interference as a threat to the constitution. The commissioners, he argued, were legally empowered to do no more than enquire about the management of County Asylums, but from their practice, it might be supposed they were seeking

    "to take the reigns out of the hands of local governments.. they wish to centralise in themselves the management" in a way "not much in accordance with the spirit of English Government" (Asylum Journal *** 1857.

He thought it the duty of all superintendents to "exert their united voices" in opposition to those "tentative suggestions " of the commissioners which were not upheld by experience, but "seem designed only" to give the commission "the appearance of a supreme authority" (Asylum Journal 1858)

Although Huxley had signed the letter of congratulations in 1849, by 1858 he was arguing (against the general feeling of the Ass) that the commission "should contain no medical element at all", but be simply a legal commission supervising the workings of the lunacy law.

(General references: Plarr. Dr Huxley on the Dirty Habits of the Insane and Night Nursing Asylum Journal October 1857 pp 119-27. Buck's reply: Asylum Journal January 1858 p. 309. Conference paper by Huxley On the existing relation Between the Lunacy Commission and Medical Superintendents of Public Asylums Asylum Journal October 1858.

I have taken two references to a meeting of the commission and the Kent committee as referring to one meeting.

F) The Lancet January 1849

The Lancet editorials attacking Turner and Hume show how unexpected the appointment of a surgeon superintendent of a pauper lunatic asylum was. They argued that an experienced asylum doctor should be appointed to the vacant commissioners post, but took it for granted he would have to be a society physician with an interest in a licensed house, and someone of the same social class as Turner, Hume and Prichard. The first editorial strongly urged the appointment of Conolly (4.4.2), a physician, and by then in private practice as proprietor of Lawn House, Hanwell and Wood End, Hayes. The 2nd stated, incorrectly, that no commissioner could be appointed who was interested in any lunatic asylum, within one year of appointment (*) In fact the Act only prohibited those interested in licensed houses (5S.2.2), but The Lancet asserted that:

    "All the most able men, those qualified by long study of the subject of insanity, and familiar with the internal economy of asylums are legally ineligible! A CONOLLY, a SUTHERLAND or a MONROE are altogether disqualified."

Alexander John Sutherland and Edward Thomas Monro, the consultant physicians to St. Lukes and Bethlem, were, like John Conolly, Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and proprietors of licensed houses.

The Lancet editorials argued that candidates were necessarily, "except under peculiar circumstances", men already superannuated, failed general practitioners or asylum proprietors, or, "mere placemen, with no other recommendation than that of a patron". The writer had heard of candidates for the post, "who might answer very well to these descriptions" (Lancet editorials 6th + 13th Jan. 1849)

* The editorial was on p.46. On p.55 Gaskell's appointment was announced with the incorrect comment that it was "in direct opposition to Lord Ashley's Law of Lunacy, upon which we have commented in our leading article."

29.6.1854 Marriage of Charlotte Bronte to Arthur Bell Nicholls. At some time: Elizabeth Gaskell in a letter to John Forster: "I am terribly afraid that he won't let her go on being intimate with us heretics. I think she is, too, a little". - Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South first appeared in (Dickens') Household Words in twenty-two weekly parts between 2.9.1854 and 27.1.1855. It was preceded by Dickens' Hard Times.

PROCTER (on circuit with Gaskell in East Anglia) 8.10.1856:-

Procter (retired): advice to Forster on his first circuit (Letter 22.4.1861):

    "I was very glad to hear that you and Gaskell have got on so well. He is very good tempered, accommodating, and unselfish, and I think that you may safely rely on him (as well as on Wilkes) in all matters relating to business. his only fault is that he is too minute, - and occasionally rather exacting"
The other medical commissioner at this time was Nairne

Gaskell served with Campbell (L5) on the 1855 Royal Commission on Scottish Lunatic Asylums and gave evidence to the 1859 SCHC (24.3.1859)

25.3.1857 Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Bronte.

In Charles Reade's Hard Cash (1863) the medical Lunacy Commissioner is "Dr Eskell". The similarity of the name to Gaskell has led some people to identify the two. However, Dr Eskell is a physician and Gaskell a surgeon and Dr Eskell interviews the patient (Alfred Hardie, Oxford graduate) about the classics, which does not seem to fit Gaskell's style or interests.

Early Retirement

"In 1865 Mr Gaskell's useful career was practically closed by a lamentable accident. While crossing a street he was knocked down by a vehicle, and from that time experienced so much discomfort in the head that it was not only impossible to pursue his work, but painful to enter into social life. consequently he became, to a great extent, a recluse, although he maintained his mental faculties to the close of his life" (Asylum Journal obituary)

Procter London 7.2.1865:

"Gaskell called the other day. He looks well but is indisposed (by this I mean indisposed for work. Excuse this piece of wit)"


"I'm glad to hear that Gaskell has returned - I hope fit for a little work"


"Gaskell sent me a letter from the South of England - and another from London. I received them with pleasure, but I can't divine what they mean."

12.11.1865 Elizabeth (Mrs) Gaskell died suddenly. She was buried 16.11.1865 at Brook Street Chapel in Knutsford.

Gaskell retired, with effect from 20.6.1866, aged 59, due to "mental infirmity" (Parliamentary Estimates 1868-1869) The Lunacy Commission's official notice of the appointment of Cleaton in the place of Gaskell "resigned" was dated 25.6.1866 and was published in the Asylum Journal July 1866, vol.12, No. 58, p.296.

Procter 25.6.1867:

"Surely the long silence of Gaskell is very extraordinary. He must be ill - and to be alone and ill together are two events not desirable."

1881 Census: Samuel Gaskell - Rev William Gaskell - Elizabeth Holland (Samuel's sister)

Died (aged 79) 17.3.1886, at his residence, Walton, Surrey (Asylum Journal obituary). (Boase says 30.3.1886, Parr: "end of March 1886")

Asylum Journal obituary:
Journal of Mental Science, July 1886 . Volume 32, No 138. July 1886, volume 32, No. 138, pages 235-236

Wilkes was an executer. He informed the council of the asylum doctors association that Gaskell's sister, Mrs Holland, wished to give it £1,000 in memory of her brother. With it they established an Examination for Honours in Psychological medicine, which was open only to qualified doctors resident in an asylum for at least two years. Money and a gold or silver medal (total value about £30) were awarded to the winner (Asylum Journal April 87, p. 108)

Plarr: Based on BMJ obituary 1886 p.720.

The Asylum Journal Index contains a history of the asylum doctors' association.

Through his sister-in-law, (Mrs) Elizabeth Gaskell the novelist, Samuel Gaskell was related to Peter Gaskell, the surgeon who wrote about The Manufacturing Population of England in 1833. Mrs Gaskell (born Elizabeth Cleghorn Stephenson) was the daughter of Elizabeth Holland (1771-1811) who married William Stevenson. Elizabeth Holland's cousin, William Coppock (1769-1843), had a daughter, Catharine Coppock (1800-1880), who married Peter Gaskell.

Peter Gaskell was born about December 1805/January 1806. He died "a natural death by apoplexy", at Champion Grove, Camberwell on 19.7.1841, "aged 35 years and 9 months" (death certificate). Not much is known about him, but we (Frank, Richard and Andrew) are trying to find out more and would like any help readers can offer. Peter Gaskell qualified as an apothecary in London in 1827 and qualified MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) on 15.2.1828. He married Catharine Coppock at St. Mary, Stockport on 21.7.1830. They had three sons. "He seems to have lived in the neighbourhood of Stockport... and it is reasonable to assume that it was then that he obtained his obviously considerable acquaintance with the poor and their problems" (Royston Pike, 1966, page 21). His The Manufacturing Population of England was published in 1833. About this time (1833/1834) he and his family moved south to Camberwell. In April, May, and June, 1835, the Monthly Magazine published articles by him, discussing the past and present condition of the labouring population and commenting on the operation of the 1834 poor law and workhouses. These were revised and published as a book Prospects of Industry later in 1835. A second edition of his book on the manufacturing population, revised and slightly enlarged, was published as Artisans and Machinery in 1836. The Preface to this is written from Champion Grove, Camberwell. In the 1841 Census shows Peter Gaskell, aged 35, surgeon, Catherine Gaskell, aged 35, plus three boys Arthur, aged 9 - George, aged 8 - and Alfred, aged 6. Only Alfred is shown as being born in Surrey. The other member of the household is Caroline Goddard, a female servant, also not born in Surrey. Royston Pike suggests that Peter Gaskell's work is only known today because Friedrich Engels used it in writing The Condition of the Working Class in England

Family information from Richard Renold and Frank Emmett

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M12 James Wilkes LSA (1834) Member Royal College of Surgeons (12.4.1835) FRCS (12.1.1854)
Commissioner 1855-1878 Honorary (Unpaid) Commissioner to death.
Retired 7.4.1878 due to "ill health". Died 12.8.1894

Born 1811. Prize essay on the Great Sympathetic Nerve for Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery, published 1832.

1841 to 1855: Superintendent Stafordshire County Asylum. In 1844 still using mechanical restraint. In 1854 convinced that as a general rule it was injurious.

A member of the asylum doctors' association, listed 2.7.1855 (Asylum Journal) a paid up member 12.5.1855 (see Asylum Journal 15.5.1855 p.208), honorary member 1.8.1857.

He wrote an article on an instrument for feeding fasting patients (Asylum Journal 15.2.1855 p.168) and had a letter published about an india rubber chamber utensil (Asylum Journal 2.4.1855 p.190).

August 1855: Wilkes, with an architect, T.L. Donaldson, was a commissioner of inquiry into the state of the Irish asylums.

10.10.1855 WILKES LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged 44) Timeline 1855
Appointed in place of Turner


Procter 13.3.1856, on circuit with Wilkes in Gloucestershire:

"We have been working very hard - too hard indeed - for twice I have been regularly knocked up, and now that I am getting old, I cannot afford to fatigue myself too much. Twice have we been frisking about before breakfast (a fatiguing pleasure), and always have been toiling about the whole day long"

Procter 16.10.1856, in the office:

"Little Dr Wilkes sits near me, poring over some Sunday papers, with a serious eye"

November 1856 Wilkes and Lutwidge (L4) on a Commission on Irish Asylums


Procter September 1866

"I am glad to hear that dear old Wilkes has gone off on his holidays. Amongst the Doctors, he has hitherto been your worker - the Toiler of the Land. I suppose however that Mr" [Cleaton, just appointed) "will take up the spindle and work in future"
The other two doctors were Nairne and Gaskell (who had just retired due to mental infirmity)

Procter to John Forster, 26.11.1867:

"I hope that Dr Wilkes does not fag you too much. He is always well himself - and thinks that everyone else must be so. Even me - poor infirm, and in my 79th year - he derides - calls me juvenile and robust, and various absurd and jocose names"

21.5.1873 Wilkes and Lutwidge were visiting Fisherton House when Lutwidge was attacked, and later died. If Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark relates to this incident, I think Wilkes is (at least in part) the Butcher. See Procter (Beaver?) for some of my reasons. At the end of the poem, where Thimgumbob (Lutwidge) vanishes, one would expect Wilkes to be present. The others (apart from the Boojum) in this part are Bellman (Shaftesbury) and Beaver and Butcher.

1874 Wilkes erected and paid for Procter's gravestone

1878: Retired aged 67, but continued as an unpaid commissioner

1878: An executer for Samuel Gaskell

1881 Census: James Wilkes, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and Commissioner In Lunacy, unmarried, aged 69, born Birmingham, Warwick, England, living with his butler, cook and housemaid at 18 Queens Gardens, London, Middlesex.

died 12.8.1894 at 18 or 19 Queen's Gardens, Hyde Park.

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M13 Robert Nairne MD (Cambridge) FRCP (1838)
Professional Commissioner 1857-1883 Honorary (Unpaid) Commissioner to death.
Appointed April (?) 1857 in place of Hume. Retired July 1883 due to "age"
died 5.11.1886

Born Perthshire 1804, died 5.11.1886. 1839-1857 Posts at St George's Hospital (From 1841 physician. Later senior physician and lecturer on medicine)

1857 NAIRNE LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 53) Timeline 1857

Appointed in place of Hume

Not being an asylum doctor, his appointment caused offence. The practice of having the third doctor a non-asylum doctor was continued when Reginald Southey was appointed in place of Nairne in 1883 and Sidney Coupland in 1898. My suspicion is that it was the practice of the Commission to have one doctor and one lawyer who visited single lunatics and society asylums.

"Reserved, cautious, patient in character, and a stickler for etiquette, he was admirably suited to be a government servant" (Munk)

"... somewhat formal and distant in his bearing to those having charge of asylums... we believe that he endeavoured to perform" [his] "duties to the best of his ability, with fairness and assiduity, but at the time of his appointment he laboured under the disadvantage of not having any practical acquaintance with lunatic asylums" (Asylum Journal obituary, January 1887, volume 32, number 140, pp 626-627)

Procter 30.9.1857: "Nairne is still at his holiday... an occupation that seems to suit him"

Procter 15.10.1860: "I wanted to make some visits with Dr Nairne but he says he is 'going to have a holiday' with his wife in the Isle of Wight"

22.4.1861: Procter's advice that Forster could rely on Gaskell and Wilkes in matters of business, may imply that he should not rely on Nairne

Procter 1864: "Lutwidge and Nairne each received a box of magnificent grapes and pears from" (Ticehurst?) "yesterday. Lutwidge divided his treasure between me and Wilkes and Campbell. Nairne (who is Scottish) divided his between himself and Mrs Nairne" [to Forster who was, presumably, on circuit with Gaskell]

November 1866 comment of Procter that Wilkes was the worker amongst the doctors implies that Nairne and Gaskell were not.

1881 Census: with Frere at Baileys Hotel, Layton With Warbreck, Lancashire.

July 1883: Retired aged 79, but continued as an unpaid commissioner

Nairne died in office (MH51/737) 5.11.1886 (Obituary). Barlow resigned the same year. Replacements were not made until 1889 when Miltown and Davenport were appointed.

January 1887 Obituary

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M14 John Davies Cleaton Member Royal College of Surgeons and LSA 1850

  • Professional Commissioner 1866-1894
    Notice of appointment: 25.6.1866
  • Honorary (Unpaid) Commissioner to death
    Died 21.8.1901

The original hand list in MH51/737 says Cleaton retired in 1894. The typed list says 1893. Both lists agree that he was appointed an honorary commissioner in 1894

Born 21.8.1825. Llanidloes, Montgomery, Wales. His father was John Cleaton and his mother was Mary Davies. He was christened at Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Church, Llanidloes on 17.9.1825 or 18.9.1825

John Cleaton married Mary Davies in Llanidloes on 25.3.1823. They had an earlier son, also John Davies Cleaton, born on 1.3.1824, who presumably died in early childhood.

From about 1850 (when he qualified) he was House Surgeon to Lancaster County Asylum.

From about 1853 to April 1858 he was Superintendent of Rainhill Asylum, one of the two new Lancashire County Asylums opened in 1851. Rainhill was built near St Helens and served the Liverpool area. The other asylum, Prestwich, served the Manchester area.

In April 1858 Cleaton replaced J.S. Alderson as Superintendent of West Riding County Asylum.

"Dr Cleaton was a brilliant medical administrator - said by Dr J Shaw Bolton in 1928 to have been "perhaps the best our speciality has ever known". The opening of the Church and the central Dining Hall, and the re- organisation of the kitchen and domestic premises gave him the opportunity to improve facilities for the patients very considerably" Ashworth, A.L. 1975 p.69


"As the institution has now...attained its final size and capacity...and is scarcely recognisable by those who have not seen it for some years, it occurred to me that it would be well to have a bird's-eye view prepared of the whole Asylum as completed...A very faithful and clear isometric drawing...has been kindly made by one of the patients (Mr W.) an architect, and having been examined by Mr Bernard Hartley, the Riding Surveyor, it has been lithographed, and a copy bound with this Report" (John Cleaton quoted Ashworth, A.L. 1975 p.57

25.6.1866 CLEATON LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about ) Timeline 1866
Appointed in place of Gaskell (see for references)

He was proposed (by Drs Robertson and Maudsley) as an honorary member of the asylum doctors' association in 1866, and elected in 1867.

He gave evidence to the 1877 SCHC (p. 495 following).

1881 Census: John D. Cleaton, unmarried, at 28 Phillimore Gardens, Census Place London, Middlesex

I thought Cleaton was on circuit with Bagot in Herefordshire, but, unsurprisingly, could not find him.

Cleaton died at Cumberland House, 158 (?) Hammersmith Road, London. There was a very short Times obituary on 3.9.1901 (page 7, col.6).

Some genealogical research by Eddie Ince

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M15 William Rhys Williams Member Royal College of Surgeons (1858) MD (St Andrews 1862) Member Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh (1866)
Commissioner 1878-1889

Born about 1837. Died December 1893

A "distinguished pupil" at the Merchant Taylor's School, from which he obtained a classical exhibition in 1855 to St Thomas's Hospital (Lancet). He had an address at 68 Harley Street, West (1860-1862 Medical Directories, 1870 Medical Register).

Entered in the medical directories as assistant doctor at Derby County Asylum (1860-1862) and then at the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Huntingdonshire County Asylum (1862-1863?). In 1863 he was appointed Assistant Physician at Bethlem (Lancet), where he was Senior Resident Physician from 1866 to 1878.

Joined the asylum doctors' association in 1866. He was General Secretary for three years from 6.8.1873

before July 1878 RHYS WILLIMS LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about ) Timeline 1878

Appointed before July 1878, in place of Wilkes.

Retired May 1889. He was replaced by Allbutt, who was not an asylum doctor.

1881 Census: William R. Williams aged 43, unmarried, at Westminster Palace Hotel, London, Middlesex. Shown as "Commissioner in Jus". Born Nottingham 1838

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M16 Reginald Southey MA (Oxford 1860) MD (Oxford 1866) FRCP (1866)
Commissioner 1883-1898

Born 15.9.1835, died 8.11.1899.

A son of Clara and Henry Herbert Southey (M4)

Educated Westminster School and Christchurch Oxford. Studied medicine at St Bartholomew's and (on a Radcliffe travelling fellowship) at Berlin, Vienna, Madeira and in South America.

June 1857 Photographed with skeletons and sculls by Lewis Carroll. The picture is now in the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television

1864: Physician to City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest.

28.1.1864: Frances Marianne Thornton married Reginald Southey at Holy Trinity, Clapham, Surrey. She was the daughter of Rev. Charles Watson Thornton, preband of Hereford.

13.6.1865 Henry Herbert Southey, his father, died at 1 Harley Street

1865: Assistant physician at St Bartholemews, then (1868 or 1870) physician and lecturer on public health and forensic medicine to 1883.

Spring 1866 Photograph by Lewis Carroll, now in the National Portrait Gallery

1869 Medical Register address for Reginald Southey: 1 Harley Street, London, W.

1878 Medical Register address for Reginald Southey: 6 Harley Street, London, W.

1881 Census: Reginald Southey (married) but on his own with his housekeeper at Sutton Hill, Sutton Valence, Kent. Next door to a Tuke (surgeon).
1881 Census: Frances M. Southey (married) aged 38, at 6 Harley Street with children and servants. She was born Llanwarne, Hereford.
1881 Census: Clara, Frances Ulla and Edith living together at Fairwood, Holdenhurst, Hampshire

1883 REGINALD SOUTHEY LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 48) Timeline 1883

Appointed by Selbourne in place of Nairne, the previous non-asylum doctor.

MH51/737 says Southey died in office (manuscript list: 1898, typed list: 1893), but according to my notes from other sources he died 8.11.1899. MH51/737 and the Lancet obituary for Sidney Coupland agree that Coupland was appointed in 1898.

8.11.1899 Died

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M17 Thomas Clifford Allbutt BA (Cambridge 1859 or 1860) MB (Cambridge 1860) FRCS (1880) FRCP (1883), Subsequently KCB (1907) PC (1920)
Commissioner 1889 Resigned April 1892 to become Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge.

Born 20.7.1836. Died 22.2.1925

Born Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire. The only son of Rev Thomas A. Allbutt, vicar of Dewesbury.

Educated at St Peter's School, York.

1855-1860 Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
BA - first class honours, natural science tripos

Clinical training at St George's Hospital, London.
Graduated MB, University of Cambridge, in 1860

Studied medicine in Paris.

Registered 18.12.1862. Address 38 Park Square, Leeds

From 1864 on, Allbutt was on the staff of Leeds General Infirmary Dispensary and Fever Hospital, he was medical lecturer at Yorkshire College and also engaged in clinical work at West Riding Asylum

1866 Allbutt invented the short-stemmed clinical thermometer

1868 paper on syphilitic disease of the central arteries

1869 (aged 33) married Susan England, daughter of Thomas England, merchant of Headingley, Leeds. They had no children.

1870 Paper on the effect of strain on the heart (an another in 18730

1876 Paper on anxiety as a cause of kidney disease

1880 Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society

1883 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London
1884 Gulstonian lecturer "Visceral Neuroses"

1885 "introduced the surgical treatment of tuberculous glands in the neck"

1888 In an address at Glasgow "began pleading for the study of comparative medicine".

May? 1889 ALLBUTT LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about ) Timeline 1889
The Journal of Mental Science in July 1889 (volume 35, no, ?, p.290) said Rhys Williams resigned in May due to failing health and Allbutt had been appointed in his place. Allbutt was appointed by Halsbury.

Rhys Williams was one of the two asylum doctors on the Commission. Allbutt was not an asylum doctor and so his appointment was a temporary diversion from the practice

"The fatigue of consulting practice necessitated Allbutt's acceptance of a commissionership in lunacy in 1889. In 1892, however, he was appointed regius professor of physic at Cambridge..." DNB 1937

MH51/737 says Allbutt resigned in 1891. I noticed no discrepancy between the manuscript and typed list. However, DNB says that Allbutt resigned because of his appointment as Cambridge Professor in 1892. The Lancet obituary for Frederick Needham says "It was in April 1892, when ... Allbutt relinquished his Commissionership ... that Dr Needham offered and accepted the post". With respect to Needham's appointment, MH51/737 manuscript list says he was appointed 1892, but the typed list says 1891.


1937 Article in the Dictionary of National Biography by H.D. Rolleston [Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston (1862- 1944) who co-edited System of Medicine. Rolleston drew on British Medical Journal 1925, volume one, pages 428-433 and "personal knowledge"

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M18 Frederick Needham MD (St Andrews 1862). Member Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh (1865) LSA (1866) Sir (Knight) 1915
Commissioner April 1892-1919

Born about 1836. Died 6.9.1924

second son of James P. Needham

about 1841 Birth of Charlotte Shooter, daughter of Rev. J. Shooter, vicar of Bishop Wilton, Yorkshire. By 1881 she was married to Frederick Needham.

Educated St Peter's School, York

St Bartholomew's Hospital, London

1858 "Mem, Lic Midwif, R. Coll Surg. Eng." (Member, licensed to practice midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons, England?)

1858-1874 Medical Superintendent of York Lunatic Asylum

26.7.1859 "Frederick Needham, esq., Lunatic Hospital, York" was on of thirteen names submitted for membership of the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums... when they met at Liverpool Medical Institution. (Volume six Asylum Journal p.22

"Those were the days when an active campaign was still being conducted by the most enlightened of the physicians in mental disorders against the systematic use of mechanical restraint and other allied forms of treatment which happily in this country, have long ago been discarded. Of all these devices Needham was always a stern opponent; even as respects forced alimentation by the nasal or oesophageal tube, salutary and life- saving as he admitted them to be when promptly and judiciously used, he urged that there were not a few cases in which rectal feeding was kinder, safer, and as efficacious." (Lancet 1924)

From about 1871: "Dr Needham" contributed articles to the Journal of Mental Science on

Volume 17 1871-1872:

A recent trial for murder (pp 351-356): Refers to Regina v. Sleight, York Summer Assizes, 1871. Charles Sleight was tried for the murder (1871) of Maria Hailstone at Hull (Wellcome Library Catalogue)

A medico-legal possibility (pp 543-544): Outlines concern that genuine accidents can give the impression of being caused by professional negligence (with special reference to asylums) (Wellcome Library Catalogue)

Volume 18 1872-1873:

On homicidal impulse (p.212);

1874 Insanity in relation to society (19 pages; 22 cm) by Frederick Needham, printed in London by Odell and Ives

August 1874 to 1892 Medical Superintendent Barnwood Hospital for the Insane, Gloucestershire

Journal of Mental Science Volume 22 1876-1877: Case of homicidal insanity (p.552);

1881 Brain exhaustion (14 pages; 22 cm) by Frederick Needham, published in London by Odell and Ives

Inclined to doubt the wisdom of adopting the open door system (Tuke, D.H. 1882 p.458)

1887 Presidential address to the Medico Psychological Association

1890 Presidential address to the Psychological Section of the British Medical Association

"...while in his 1890 presidential address he strenuously deprecated, among other matters, the function of the magistrate in making reception orders as being likely to delay and hamper treatment in early stages of mental illness, he was a Commissioner inflexible in seeing that the provisions of the Lunacy Acts and later, of the Mental Deficiency Act were duly carried out." (Lancet 1924)

April 1892 NEEDHAM LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 56) Timeline 1892
Appointed by Halsbury, who had also appointed his predecessor Allbutt

"It was in April 1892, when Allbutt relinquished the Commissionership... that Dr Needham was offered and accepted the post" (Lancet 1924)

For references, see Allbutt

"...it was he who, on behalf of the Board, drew up not only the Regulations made under the section in the Lunacy Act dealing with mechanical restraint, but also the definition of "seclusion" - the steady enforcement of both of which has left so deep a mark in the better treatment of the insane." (Lancet 1924)

1904-1908 Member of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble Minded

"...he was an active member. This commission undertook a very extensive survey of the problem, visiting various districts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as also America and several countries of Europe." (Lancet 1924)

1907 Death of his first wife, Charlotte

1913: Lunacy Commission became Board of Control Timeline 1913

June 1919 Retired from the Board of Control

6.9.1924 died at his residence in Bournemouth

20.9.1924 Two page Lancet obituary (pages 627-628) by "C.H.B." [Charles Hubert Bond?], with photograph.

Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

M19 John Augustus Wallis LRCS (Ireland) LRCP (Edinburgh) MD (Aberdeen)

  • Commissioner 1894 in place of Cleaton
  • died in office 1897

    Born about 1846 in Waterford, Ireland.

    1866 Licentiate Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland

    1867 Licentiate Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh

    22.1.1868 First registered as a doctor in England

    Sometime assistant physician at Aberdeen Royal Asylum.

    1868 to 1873: Senior Assistant Physician Durham County Asylum

    1874 to 1875?: Senior Assistant Physician Wakefield County Asylum

    1875 to ?: Superintendent of Hull Borough Asylum

    Married 28.8.1879 Maria Louisa Pearson of the Pearson family, who were ship builders and owners in Hull.

    Medical Superintendent Whittingham County Asylum, Lancashire by 1881, when he and his family are shown on the census. Still at Wittingham in 1889.

    Joined Asylum Doctors' Association in 1876.

    M.D. from Aberdeen University in 1883

    Article on Bleeding in Epilepsy in Journal of Mental Science 1886.

    1894 WALLIS LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 49) Timeline 1894

    Appointed medical commissioner about 1894 (in place of Cleaton?).

    The original hand list in MH51/737 says that Wallis was appointed in 1893. The typed list says 1894. I decided on 1894 to achieve the greatest consistency with Wallis replacing Cleaton

    Died in office, suddenly (aged 52) on 30.12.1897 at Ardwick Lodge, Hull. He was buried in the Pearson family vault in Hull General Cemetery.

    "In loving Memory of Maria Louisa (Louie), daughter of the late William Hunt Pearson and dearly loved wife of John A. Wallis M.D. born 22 February 1851 died 21 July 1891. I will lay me down in peace and take my rest for it is thee Lord only that makest me to dwell in safety. Also in memory of John A Wallis M.D. a commissioner in Lunacy, late of Harrow who died 30 December 1897 aged 52"

    MH51/737 says that Wallis died in office in 1897 and Edward Marriot Cooke was appointed in 1898. An advertisement in The Lancet 8.1.1898 page 135, announced that a "John A. Wallis, M.D." of Harrow had died suddenly at Ardwick Lodge, Hull on December 30th 1897. The Lancet obituary for Cooke says it was in January 1898, on the death of Wallis, that he joined the commission.

    Family information mostly provided by Ann Adams 23.6.2002

    Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
    Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

    M20 Edward Marriot Cooke Member Royal College of Surgeons (1874) MB (London 1877) KBE (1918)
    Professional Commissioner 1898-1921, Acting Chaiman Board of Control 1916-1918, Honorary (Unpaid) Commissioner until 1930

    Born 4.2.1852. Died 17.10.1931

    Elder child and only son of Henry Edward Cooke of Harrow-on-the-Hill.

    Educated at a private school in Southampton and at Cholmeley's School, Highgate.

    Sometime resident medical student King's College, London. Completeed his medical work at King's College Hospital. MB (University of London) 1877

    "Public service for sufferers from mental disorder extending over a period of 56 years entitles him to be regarded as a mani link between mid-Victorian psychiatry and the present day ideals embodied in the Mental Treatment Act". (Lancet 1931)

    1873 Assistant to Worcester County Asylum, Powick

    1874 Member Royal College of Surgeons (England) (Medical Register 1878

    19.3.1875 First entered on the Medical Register (Medical Register 1878


    MB (University of London) (Medical Register 1878

    Superintendent Wiltshire County Asylum

    1878 Joined Medico Psychological Association

    1879 Married Mary Anne Henrietta Cecil, daughter of Sir George Brooke-Pechel, fifth baronet, of Alton House

    "an accomplished pianist and singer, whose gentleness and charm helped to mitigate the asperities of asylum life." (Lancet 1931)

    They had no children

    1881 Superintendent to Worcester County Asylum, Powick

    The Lancet in 1931 wrote that Hubert Bond as Cooke's "friend and colleague". Cooke was eighteen years older than Bond. When he became superintendent of the Powick Asylum, Bond was the ten year old son of the asylum chaplain. By the time Cooke left Powick to become a commissioner, Bond had graduated as a doctor and was serving as an assistant in asylums.

    January 1898 COOKE LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged 45) Timeline 1897

    Cooke was appointed in place of Wallis who died in office 30.12.1897

    "It was in January 1898, on the death of Dr J. A. Wallis, that Cooke joined the Lunacy Commission when Earl Waldegrave was chairman. he was not an innovator; he preferred to abide by well-tried measures, and his work is merged in the Board's corporate activities.

    Benevolently sceptical of new suggestions, he was ready to encourage their trial. As Commisioner he read every letter addressed to him from patients, and on his visits of inspection he gave them full opportunity to ventilate their grievances" (Lancet 1931)

    1913: Lunacy Commission became Board of Control Timeline 1913

    "When war came in 1914 and Cooke was 62 years old, his services were lent whole-time to the War Office, and with one of his colleagues he developed a scheme under which 24 hospitals with 31,000 beds were placed at the disposal of sick and wounded soldiers, of who some 480,000 were treated there; that is one sixth of the total number from all fronts." (Lancet 1931)

    "For a while he acted as medical referee at Scotland yard in doubtful internment cases" (Lancet 1931)


    "From 1916 to 1918 he was chairman of the Board during the absence of Sir William Byrne in Ireland, being created K.B.E. at the end of this period." (Lancet 1931)

    1921 Resigned as full time commissioner

    "he was appointed an honorary Commissioner, continuing to attend meetings of the Board right up to the coming into force of the Mental Treatment Act." (Lancet 1931)

    Two other honorary commissioners were appointed in 1921: C. L. Forester Walker, MP and Miss Ruth Darwin. They were appointed in the places of Mrs Ellen Francis Pinsent, who became a salaried commissioner, Miss Mary Dendy (retired) and Willoughby H. Dickinson MP (who resigned)

    1927 death of his wife

    Cooke ceased to be an honorary commissioner in 1930, as did the other two honorary commissioners: C. L. Forester Walker, MP and Miss Ruth Darwin. I take it that there was no provision for honorary commissioners in the 1930 Mental Treatment Act. Ruth Darwin came back onto the Board in 1932 as a Senior Commissioner in the place of Dame Ellen Pinsent. She retired in 1950.

    died London 17.10.1931

    31.10.1931 One page Lancet obituary (page 990) with photograph

    Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
    Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

    M21 Sidney Coupland MD (London 1871-1874?) FRCP (1881)
    Commissioner 1898-1921

    Born 3.12.1849. Died 29.4.1930

    Third son of W.H. Coupland, a business man, of Streatham

    Educated Hove House School, Brighton

    Medical Student at University College Hospital, London

    1871? MD London (Munk)

    Resident posts at University College Hospital

    1873 "Graduated with honours, University of London" (Lancet)

    Pathologist to Middlesex Hospital

    1874 Member of the Royal College of Physicians (London). The Lancet (contary to Munk above) gives this as the year of his MD

    1875 Assistant physician Middlesex Hospital

    1879 Full physician Middlesex Hospital (change of wards)

    1880 Married Bessie, daughter of Thomas Potter of Great Bedwin, Wiltshire. [In 1930?] they had one surviving son: Sir Reginald Coupland.

    Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London)

    1881 Gulstonian lecturer (FRCP) on anaemia

    1889 to 1896: A member of the Royal College on Vaccination under the chairmanship of Lord Herschell

    1891 Dean of the Medical School at Middlesex Hospital

    1898 COUPLAND LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 48) Timeline 1898

    Appointed by Halsbury in place of Reginald Southey, the previous non-asylum doctor.

    1913: Lunacy Commission became Board of Control Timeline 1913

    1921 Retired from the Board of Control

    1922 Harveian orator Royal College of Physicians

    Tuesday 29.4.1930 Died at his house, Wooton Ridge, Boar's Hill, Oxford, leaving Bessie a widow.

    10.3.1930 Two page Lancet obituary (pages 1036-1037) with photograph

    Medical member of the Lunacy Commission
    Click on the index number to see the relation to other commissioners

    M22 Charles Hubert Bond MB (Edinburgh 1892), BSc (Edinburgh 1893) CBE (1920) KBE (1929)
    Commissioner 1912-1945

    Born 6.9.1870 Died 18.4.1945

    Born at Ogbourne St George, Wiltshire. (Spelt Agbourne 1901 Census) The elder son of Rev Alfred Bond who became chaplain to Worcester County Asylum, Powick.

    map shows Ogbourne St George north east of Roundway, Devizes (site of the Wiltshire County Asylum)

    1881 Aged ten: living at Powick where Edward Marriot Cooke became asylum superintendent later that year.

    1892 MB (Edinburgh)
    1893 B.Sc (Public Health) (Edinburgh)

    Junior appointment Morningside Asylum, Edinburgh.

    Subsequent posts at Wakefield, Banstead and Bexley

    1900 Married Janet Constance Laurie (born about 1873), daughter of Frederic Robert Laurie (born about 1842) and Mary H. Laurie (born about 1845) of Worcester. Janet was the daughter of a Worcester Bank Manager (see 1881 census). They had one daughter.

    Reginald Bond (1872-1955), Charles younger brother, shown as a surgeon in the 1901 census. He became medical director-general of the Royal Navy. Charles Bond was "for many years... consultant in neurology and mental disorders to the Royal Navy" (Aubrey Lewis)

    1903 Medical Superintendent of London County Council's new Ewell Colony for Epileptics

    Gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded that confinement was the "most humane, economical and medically wise" solution.

    1907 Medical Superintendent of London County Council's new Long Grove Asylum

    "During the next five years he established a reputation as an administrator and gathered round him a group of able young men who were to become leaders of this branch of medicine in the period between the two world wars" (Aubrey Lewis)

    1912 BOND [ADDITIONAL] LUNACY COMMISSIONER (aged about 42) Timeline 1912

    Bond was the fourth medical commissioner. Hodgson was the fourth legal commissioner. Bond was the only one to join the commission at this time as Hodgson was promoted from Secretary

    10.11.1912 William Smart Harnett, a farmer, was admitted under certificate to Malling Place, West Malling, Kent, a licensed house owned and managed by Dr George Henry Adam. On 12.12.1912 Harnet was allowed out on 28 days leave of absence. On the morning of 14.12.1912 he visited the Commissioners in Lunacy at 66 Victoria Street.

    "Dr Bond... was the Commissioner in charge of the office on that day. Before Dr Bond had seen [Harnett] he telephoned to Dr Adam on receiving [Harnett's] card to bring a car to take him back to the asylum. Dr. Bond had the file relating to the appellant, he had the certificate, and the record of the appellant's escape on December 4, but it did not appear that he knew that the appellant had been allowed out of the asylum."

    It was later conceded that Dr Bond acted in a negligant manner and was not entitled to deprive Harnett of his freedom. However, Harnett was detained at Malling Place and other asylums for nearly nine years, until he escaped on 15.10.1921.

    25.2.1913 Annual Meeting of the After-Care Association at which Dr C. Hubert Bond "Commissioner in Lunacy" read a paper on "After- care in Cases of Mental Disorder, and the Desirability of its More Extended Scope"

    1913: Lunacy Commission became Board of Control Timeline 1913

    1914   Aubrey Lewis says that Bond helped in turning asylums over to military and other needs. (see Cooke)

    1921 Bond gave a "lengthy address" to the Royal Medico Psychological Association" pressing for the voluntary admission of mentally ill patients rather than their certification, as a means of obtaining treatment in a mental hospital" (Aubrey Lewis)

    31.5.1922 William Harnett's legal proceedings against Charles Bond and George Adam commenced before J. Lush and a special jury (King's Bench). After a long hearing, the judge summed up the case and put to the jury seventeen questions, which were answered as follows:-

      1. Did Dr. Bond cause the plaintiff to be detained at the office until the attendants came for him? - Answer: Yes.

      2. Did he cause him to be sent back for the purpose only of his being examined by Dr. Adam or for the purpose of his being detained at Malling Place? - Answer: Being detained at Malling Place.

      3. Did Dr. Bond cause the plaintiff to be taken back? - Answer: Yes.

      4. Was the plaintiff of unsound mind on December 14, 1912? - Answer: No.

      5. Was he fit to be at large? - Answer: Yes.

      6. Was he dangerous to himself or others? - Answer: No.

      7. Did Dr. Bond honestly believe that the plaintiff was of unsound mind? - Answer: No.

      8. Or that he was not fit to be at large? - Answer: No.

      9. Or that he was dangerous to himself or others? - Answer: No.

      10. Did he believe that the plaintiff had escaped from his brother's charge? If so, was that his reason for having him sent back? - Answer: Yes.

      11. Did he take reasonable care to ascertain the true facts? - Answer: No.

      12. Did he honestly believe that Dr. Adam had retained a power of taking the plaintiff back during the 28 days in the Leave of Absence Order? - Answer: Yes.

      13. Did Dr. Adam when he received the telephone message and sent the car, honestly believe that the plaintiff on December 14 was of unsound mind and unfit to be at large? - Answer: Yes.

      14. That it was in his interest that he should be taken back to Malling Place? - Answer: Yes.

      15. Did he take reasonable care in acting as he did? - Answer: No.

      16. Did he make it known to the plaintiff that he was liable to be retaken if his mental condition required it? - Answer: No.

      17. Was the detention of the plaintiff at the Commissioners' offices the act of Dr. Bond alone or was it really the act of both the defendants? - Answer: Dr. Bond.

    "The jury... awarded the very heavy damages of £25,000 . The Court of Appeal (later confirmed by the House of Lords) set the verdict aside and ordered a retrial, but this did not take place as the plaintiff accepted £250 paid into court" (Aubrey Lewis) The size of these damages can be seen if compared with the size of the donation made by Henry Maudsley to found the hospital that bears his name. (£30,000 increased to £40,000)

    Maudsley Hospital opened Bond "lectured for twenty years at the Maudsley Hospital to succesive classes of young psychiatrists on the legal relationships of mental disorder. (Aubrey Lewis)


    The Board of Control published a report on the nursing service in mental hospitals by a committee chaired by Bond.

    7.4.1924 to 11.4.1924, 14.4.1924 and 15.4.1924 16.5.1924. Court of Appeal in case of Harnett v. Bond and another.

    20.9.1924 Lancet obituary of Frederick Needham by "C.H.B.", which I think must have been Bond.

    Lords' Journals, 15.5.1925. Harnett v. Bond and another

    1931: Appointed Senior Commissioner

    1939   Aubrey Lewis says that Bond helped in turning mental hospitals over to military and other needs.

    March 1945 Retired. Died 18.4.1945 at St Anne's-on-Sea, "less than a month after his retiring"

    1959 Article in the Dictionary of National Biography by Aubrey Lewis, drawing on Lancet 5.5.1945 and "personal knowledge"



    Guy's Hospital Founded 1726
    Opposite St, Thomas's. Near London Bridge
    Leigh's New Picture of London 1819

    Middlesex Hospital Founded 1745
    Mortimer Street, London, W1T 3AA
    1830 map - Modern map
    External link to history

    St Bartholomew's Hospital Medieval foundation about 1123.

    St George's Hospital Founded 1734
    Hyde Park Corner
    (1830 map) (modern map: Hyde Park Corner
    "this and the Westminster Hospital, opposite Westminster Abbey, ... although of old foundation, have both been recently erected". (Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844)
    External link to history

    St Thomas's Hospital Medieval foundation. Mid 12th century
    External Link to Victorian London history
    Royal Charter: 1553
    St Thomas's was at the southern end of London Bridge. This one was closed to allow railway building. 1830 map
    1871 New St Thomas's by Westminster Bridge opened. Possible influence on asylum architecture.

    Westminster Hospital Founded 1720
    Broad Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey.
    The first English Hospital established and supported by voluntary contributions.
    New building, "an Elizabethan Gothic edifice" erected 1832


    © Andrew Roberts 1981-

    Study Link
    Andrew Roberts' web Study Guide
    Top of Page Take a Break - Read a Poem
    Click coloured words to go where you want

    Andrew Roberts likes to hear from users:
    To contact him, please use the Communication Form


  • The Victorian Ministry of Mental Health

    Click for:


    Bisset Hawkins













    Rhys Williams


    Southey, H.H.

    Southey, R.





    There are map links from this page (in red) to Greenwoods 1830 map on the Motco web site

    Use the University of Cambridge Official Map to locate colleges and places in Cambridge.