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The Circulation of Pauper Lunatics and the Transitory Nature of Mental Health Provision in Late Nineteenth Century Cumberland and Westmorland

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Following the implementation of legislation in 1845 which required every county and borough throughout England and Wales to build an institution for the treatment of mentally ill paupers, there was a surge in the number of people classed as insane. This created situations of overcrowding, and pauper lunatics were constantly pushed and pulled between the asylum and the workhouse in an attempt to alleviate pressure on accommodation. This paper explores the experience of pauper lunatic patients at the County Asylum of Cumberland and Westmorland, and recounts the experience of its pauper patients as they entered and departed from the institution, thereby portraying the transitionary process of mental health provision in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • Local Population Studies was first published in 1968, and since then it has focused on presenting cutting-edge research in local, population and social history. It is published twice a year online and in print by the Local Population Studies Society, with the support of the University of Oxford. For information about how to become a member of the LPSS, and for freely available back issues from 1968 to 2010, please visit
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