Sedman, Gemma (2019) ‘The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum from 1910-1920 including the impacts from the Great War’. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Much of the research surrounding Asylums during the First World War focuses primarily on shell-shocked male soldiers of higher ranks and then, more recently, ordinary soldiers. This creates a gap in the historiography and this thesis attempts to shed light on what ordinary patients, who were not soldiers, experiences were like in this period. The case study of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield will be used and close attention has been given to the archival documents from this institution found at the West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield. The thesis will analyse a number of under-researched areas pre, during and post-War to establish the undeniable damaging impact that the War had on Asylum patients. It will comment on the institution as a leader in scientific research, which initially introduced it as an advanced and thriving Asylum. It will then, however, diminish this ‘forward-thinking’ Asylum by discussing the impacts of War. The key areas of research at the Asylum during the War were the breakdown of administration, overcrowding as a result of the transfer of other Asylum patients from the Wharncliffe War Hospital, the impact of enlistment and conscription that ultimately led to staff shortages and finally rationing. The thesis will also take into consideration ordinary civilian life outside the institution and consider the links between the two. This will ultimately argue that the First World War had a significant negative impact on the patients within the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield whose standards, it can be argued, had been improving during the pre-War years.

FINAL THESIS - Sedman.pdf - Accepted Version
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