19 October 2012.
The conference will use the former West Riding Asylum in Wakefield, Yorkshire, as a starting point to investigate scientific research in the asylum more widely. The West Riding Asylum, founded in 1818, was by the end of the Victorian era a model of new ‘scientific’ psychiatry. From the 1870s onwards, work in the asylum’s laboratory contributed to developing knowledge in the fields of bacteriology and pathology. The late-19th to mid-20th century witnessed investigations into cerebral localization, the establishment of an acute hospital, and a variety of attempts to discover the physical origins of mental illness. This research played an important part in contemporary understandings of insanity, and its significance extended to such matters as public health and medico-legal questions, as well as establishing groundwork for later developments in child psychology and drug treatment.
‘Science in the asylum’ will bring together researchers at various stages in their careers to highlight the West Riding’s relevance to the wider history of psychiatry and to address how we can utilise such historical material today.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Jonathan Andrews (University of Newcastle) as our keynote speaker. You can view the full programme, register, and plan your journey using the ‘Conference’ menu above.
If you have any questions, please contact the conference organisers, Jennifer Wallis or Mike Finn.