ABSTRACT

Chapter 6 investigates how asylum buildings and grounds were designed to contribute towards the treatment of those with mental illnesses. Prior to the nineteenth century the mentally ill were seen as incurable, and either resided at home or in workhouses, prisons or custodial asylums. In the late eighteenth century, a system of non-restraint was proposed based on the theory of moral therapy, and in Britain, France and the United States of America, this idea gained currency. This chapter focuses on the emergence of therapeutic asylums purpose-designed to facilitate moral therapy through the inclusion of features such as segregated accommodation, airing courts, ornamental gardens and productive grounds. With changes in treatment introduced in the twentieth century, reinforced by pharmaceutical advances, the role of asylums lessened with many closing. Through an examination of asylums and their landscapes, insights may be gained into the relationship between attitudes towards the mentally ill and the consequent institutional arrangements. Additionally, there is also the potential to illuminate the manner in which asylum buildings influenced perceptions of mental illness by the general public.