Posted by: Alice Nelson | 09/11/2012

New website and article on mental health institutions

Devon County Mental Hospital website

The Devon Country Mental Hospital website takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum at Exminster. Based on archival case notes and supplemented by Medical Superintendents’ and Commissioners of Lunacy’s reports as well as interviews with former staff, the website tells the stories of real patients and their journey into, and life within, the asylum, hoping to highlight changes in the legislation and care of people suffering from mental health problems.

Hosted by Exeter University, the site is based on a series of Wellcome Trust funded projects carried out since 2007 by Dr Nicole Baur and Prof Jo Melling (Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter), in collaboration with John Draisey from the Devon Heritage Centre (DHC).

Devon County Mental Hospital homepage

Collectors Weekly article on Willard Asylum

Another interesting article this week (discovered on Twitter from @KarenAbbott via @2nerdyhistgirls) was published in Collectors Weekly on the suitcases of patients the Willard Asylum.  Hunter Oatman-Stanford’s article, entitled ‘Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients examines Jon Crispin’s project to photograph the suitcases that patients at the Willard Asylum in New York State brought with them when entering the institution.  The suitcases that were left in the institution, often when patients died and no one claimed their belongings, were kept by staff even after the asylum closed.  The collection has been photographed by Crispin in added to the New York State Museum.

(c) Market Street Media

Related Links




  1. […] This post from the excellent Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine Library, Oxford blog introduces another Wellcome Trust funded project, the Devon County Mental Hospital website. […]

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