Bedlam and its Ghosts!

Bethlem Royal Hospital, near Shirley, taken 7 ...

Image via Wikipedia

Bethlem Royal Hospital (bĕth`ləm), the oldest institution for the care and confinement of the mentally ill in England, and one of the oldest in Europe. A priory in 1247, the building was converted to its later usage c.1400. The hospital moved in 1675, in 1815, and to its present location near Croydon in 1930. The word bedlam, which is derived from the hospital’s name, has long been applied to any place or scene of wild turmoil and confusion. Presently, Bethlem Royal Hospital is connected with the Univ. of London’s Institute of Psychiatry, and is part of the Maudsley Hospital.

When I was a kid I remember my mum using the word ‘bedlam’.

Photo from 'A Symphony of Ghosts'

It was a very common word back in the sixties. I think it is also a very British word as I don’t hear it so much now I live in the US.

I can only imagine the ghosts that wander the halls and passageways of this place. The poor unfortunate mentally insane residents, who were committed to spend their lives in that horrific place, were not well cared for. After enduring years of cruelty they often died terrible deaths. 


My curiosity is piqued and now I will have to find time to research Bedlam, and the ghosts that roam there.

It’s very name chills me.


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