The York Retreat

My new post for on Samuel Tuke’s description of the York Retreat – a revolutionary asylum opened in 1796 by his grandfather, to offer humane care for insane Quaker patients.

L0000811EA The Retreat near York.


In 1791 a female patient, belonging to the Society of Friends, was admitted to the York Asylum. Since her family did not live nearby, they requested that their friends who lived in the city visit her. These visits were refused, and a few weeks later the patient later died in mysterious circumstances. The Quaker community were appalled and decided to found a charitable asylum which opened in 1796 under the direction of William Tuke, based on the more human principle of moral management, without the use of physical restraints. The publication in 1813 of a description of the retreat by Samuel Tuke, the grandson of the institution’s founder, quickly drew the public’s attention the plight of the insane, exposing the routine and systematic maltreatment of those incarcerated at madhouses such as the York Asylum and London’s notorious Bethlem Hospital. The description was of vital importance, leading to the establishment of a select committee in Parliament to regulate asylums in 1815…
Read the full post here.

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