07 April 2019

7th April 1847 - North and East Ridings Pauper Lunatic Asylum opened

On 7th April 1847 the North and East Ridings Pauper Lunatic Asylum opened its doors. Pauper refers to ordinary working class people who could not afford the fees of private asylums and so the poor law unions were responsible for their fees.

It was built as a joint venture by the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, and was planned in 1843 before the law in 1845 made it mandatory for areas to have their own Asylum. The more industrial West Riding had its own Asylum.

On opening it had accommodation for 144, and the first medical superintendent described it as having a homely, domestic family atmosphere, in contrast to the regimes in many other places. By 1858 additional wings had been added, and there were 472 patients, and it perhaps lost some of the earlier homeliness.

Then in 1865 the East Riding built its own Asylum, and it became just the North Riding Asylum. This allowed more room for a time. The buildings were expanded many times after that.

It became the North Riding Mental Hospital in 1920 and the Clifton Hospital in 1948.

Clifton Hospital closed in July 1994. Like many old institutions a book was written to remember the old place. The book was 'Clifton Hospital - An Era' by M.T.Haslam.

Thanks to the following 2 websites for the information:
Clifton Hospital, York - County Asylums
Bird Childs and Goldsmith Dora Childs and Aaron Tempest

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