Science in the Asylum: Patients, Psychiatry, and the Laboratory


19 October 2012


Destiny Church, Wakefield, West Yorkshire


‘Science in the Asylum’ brings together researchers from different backgrounds interested in the scientific work conducted in asylums.

The one-day conference will address the importance of the asylum in the development of the modern specialties of science and medicine, and will discuss the relevance of asylum research and theories to the treatment of patients and broader public health and medico-legal debates.


The conference focuses in particular on the West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, as an entry point into the study of scientific work in asylums more generally. Founded in 1818, it became one of the world’s most famous research-oriented institutions and by the end of the Victorian era it was a model of a new ‘scientific’ psychiatry. The event will take place in the theatre and dining hall of the former asylum.


We are delighted to welcome eight presenters at the event, including our keynote speaker Dr Jonathan Andrews (University of Newcastle), plus a talk from staff of the West Yorkshire Archive Service, where the asylum’s archives are held. To view the full programme, register for the event, and plan your journey, please visit:


If you have any questions, please contact the conference organisers, Jennifer Wallis or Mike Finn.


This event has been generously supported by the Centre for the History of the Emotions at QMUL, the Centre for HPS at the University of Leeds, and the British Association for Victorian Studies.