A drawing of Lincoln asylum

You are warmly invited to join us for the first online meeting of 2022-23 of the Nineteenth Century Research Group at the University of Lincoln.
Matthew Bayly will be presenting on ‘Biteing Another Pauper With Whom She Slept: Lunatics, Idiots and Imbeciles under the New Poor Law, c.1836-1852’

Abstract: The first half of the nineteenth century saw important legislative developments regarding the treatment of mental illness and cognitive disability, as well as the provision of welfare within England and Wales. In regard to the former, the period saw the growth of the asylum as the officially sanctioned response to lunacy. In regard to the latter, the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act issued in the era of the New Poor Law where relief was ostensibly to be delivered within a workhouse. That the Poor Law was crucial for the support of the mentally ill and cognitively disabled has been well noted; thus, such cohorts sat at the interface between these legislative changes. What this meant in practice for the experiences of those deemed lunatics, idiots and imbeciles in the early decades of the New Poor Law will be the focus of this paper. Analysis will focus on two Poor Law Unions in Lincolnshire and try to discern life cycles of support for mentally ill and cognitively disabled paupers, focussing on the loci of care of the parish, the asylum and the workhouse.

Bio: Matthew Bayly is a PhD student at Nottingham Trent University with a submitted thesis titled ‘The Human Ecology of Need and Relief on the Lincoln Heath, c.1790-1850.’ His research interests include the history of welfare; the history of mental illness; local history and public engagement with a specific focus on Lincolnshire. Currently, he is a Senior English for Academic Purposes Tutor in the International College at the University of Lincoln.

This event is open to all and will take place on MS Teams. Register via Eventbrite here, or email Laura Gill (lgill@lincoln.ac.uk) for a direct link to the meeting. The Teams meeting room will open at 4pm and the talk will begin at 4.15pm.

The next event in this series will be on Wednesday 23rd November (4–5.30pm), when Anna Jamieson (History of Art, Birkbeck) will be joining us to speak about ‘Practical Hints: The Art of the Asylum Visitor Book in the early nineteenth-century’. Further details will follow soon.