THE ASYLUM ERA
Between 1722 and 1857 seven asylums had been erected in Scotland, all with Royal Charters. These were located near the larger towns and were governed by Local Boards of Management. These Royal Asylums were intended to provide sanctuary for the afflicted or destitute of the local parishes and the majority of residents were therefore rate-aided parishioners; more commonly referred to as 'paupers'. It was not uncommon for asylums to receive private patients whose ongoing care was financed by relatives or from personal estates. In addition to the Royal Asylums, there were many privately owned asylums boarding both pauper and private patients. Significantly, at this time, there existed no central authority charged with exercising general supervision of the insane or their guardians. The Scottish Lunacy Act passed in 1857 was prompted by public reaction against the provision of care for the mentally ill throughout the 19th century, as the full horrors of incarceration in private madhouses and institutions were revealed. Such laws as existed appeared only to protect paying patients in private madhouses, and to prevent wrongful detention of the sane. The Act ushered in an era of 'moral treatment' and strong advocacy for a society and way of life which could reduce the amount of mental ill-health or prevent its recurrence; the concepts of 'preventative psychiatry' and 'mental hygiene'.
' Just as we appoint officers of public health, whose business it is to hunt out fever and contagious maladies, the offspring of ignorance and neglect, and to trace them to their lair, and to strangle them at birth, let us think how the same principles may be applied to diseases of the mind.'
Dr John Hawkes, 1857
Underlying these noble aims was a sound politically- driven business strategy with a goal for well- managed public institutions which, if large enough, would cost the public less than the small private madhouses, especially if they used the sound principles of industry. The political criteria for success in running asylums had little to do with the rates of cure or discharge. The principal concern was the achievement of the lowest possible running costs, and the Annual Accounts Statement was therefore given prominence in the report submitted each year by the Medical Superintendent to the Board of Control.
The 1857 Act made provision for the general supervision of the insane under a General Board of Control for Scotland. The Board of Control was responsible for ensuring that asylums were provided by the Local Authorities and paid for out of local rates. The Board's Commissioners were charged to first establish and then report on the activities of District Lunacy Boards. One such Board was Kirklands Joint Board, on which Lanarkshire, Govan and Glasgow were represented. It was set up in Bothwell with responsibility for the control of the new Kirklands Lunatic Asylum. In 1886, Kirklands Joint Board opened a forty-bed annexe to Kirklands Asylum at Liquo near Bowhousebog. This small hospital was less than one mile from the present Hartwood Hospital and was the first asylum established in this particular area of Lanarkshire. It had a relatively brief life span and, following its closure in early 1895, it was converted to six small dwelling houses which have since been demolished.
Shortly after the opening of Liquo Asylum, Kirklands Joint Board sought to provide a much larger hospital on land purchased from the Hartwood Estate of Lord Deas. This prompted Sir Windham Charles James Carmichael Anstruther of Westraw and Carmichael to campaign for the establishment of a new District Lunacy Board. He succeeded in his efforts and the Lanark District Lunacy Board was established in 1888. The Board was constituted from twelve appointees from the County Council of Lanark, and one each from the Lanarkshire Burghs of Lanark, Rutherglen, Hamilton, Airdrie and Coatbridge. Perhaps in recognition of his determined campaigning, Sir Windham C J C Anstruther became the first Chairman of the newly formed Lanark District Lunacy Board which supervised most of the early building work at Hartwood.
It must have been with great pride and perhaps a little satisfaction that Sir Windham presided over the official opening ceremony, and accepted the presentation of a golden key as a souvenir of the occasion. After his death on 26 January 1898, and in keeping with his expressed wishes, a plaque was commissioned and erected in his memory in the new hospital. He was succeeded as Chairman by Sir Robert King Stewart of Murdostoun, K.B.E., Lord Lieutenant of the County of Lanark. A County Councillor and son of a former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Sir Robert, who had been a member of the governing body from the opening of the Hospital in 1895, was Chairman until his death on 20 December 1930.
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