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The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.
Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.
With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.
Featured Article Of The Week
Auckland Lunatic Asylum
Financial backing to build the hospital came from the provincial government. In September 1863, architectural plans by a Mr. Barrett from England were submitted to the Auckland architect James Wrigley who adapted them. Henry White was the builder. John Thomas of Oakley Creek was awarded a brick contract for the building materials, but being unable to complete the contract, it fell on Dr. Pollen to supply the rest of the bricks. Some of the bricks were produced on-site while others were produced at Dr Pollen's Avondale brickyard. After the building was gutted by an 1877 fire, Philip Herapath supervised the reconstruction. From 1869 to 1879, Dr. Thomas Aickin served as medical superintendent. In 1891, Dr. T. R. King, Medical Superintendent, resigned because of ill-health, and was succeeded by Dr. Gray Hassell, who had been an administrator at the Wellington Hospital and Wellington Asylum.
In December, 1900, there were 494 patients—306 males and 188 females. The staff included 31 males and 21 females. The average net cost per patient was, in 1898, £19 13s, and, in 1899, £20 8s. The average number of patients sent out cured in 1898 was 51%, and in 1899, 38%; average deaths, 1898, 7.5; in 1899, 8.8. The officials of the institution at the time were Dr. Robert Martin Beattie, medical superintendent; Dr. William Webster, assistant medical officer; Edward Newport, head attendant; Sophia Campbell, matron; and J. D. Muir, farm manager. Religious service was held on Sunday by ministers of the denominations of which patients are members. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
Prior to 1869, when Seaview Asylum
began construction, those with mental health issues were sent to the nearby Sunnyside Hospital in Christchurch. When that became unavailable for the locals in the surrounding region, they started construction of their own asylum. It began accepting patients in 1972.
The following video was created by New Zealand's One TV, a news station, on the hospital and was uploaded to Youtube by TATV. It focuses on Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital's abandoned state in a larger picture of government owned abandoned buildings spread across the island.
Recent Message Board Posts
In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.
Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.