Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

Last week (10-16 May 2021) marked Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Today Dr Stephen Ball from our Commons 1832-1868 project looks into the career and legacy of Joseph Ablett (1773-1848), a wealthy cotton manufacturer and country squire. Although never technically an MP, Ablett was returned at a parliamentary election in 1826, and later made a significant contribution to the treatment of mental illness … Continue reading Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

This week (10-16 May 2021) marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Mental illness is often hidden or misidentified in the historical record, and at the History of Parliament we’re trying to do our bit to correct this. Our research staff often identify cases of parliamentarians who suffered with their mental health, and today, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, considers … Continue reading ‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

As public debate intensifies about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on mental health, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 section, considers a poorly documented aspect of early modern medicine… If ever there was an era when despondency was in vogue, it was surely the early seventeenth century. Shakespeare’s plays exploited mental anguish to great dramatic effect, from the love-sick Romeo to … Continue reading The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

‘Of unsound mind’? MPs, mental health and the 1886 Lunacy (Vacating of Seats) Act

Today, during Mental Health Awareness Week, we hear from Dr Kathryn Rix, Assistant Editor of the Commons 1832-1868 Section and the Victorian Commons blog. She explains the legislation that bound MPs suffering with prolonged periods of mental illness from 1886 until legislative reform in 2013… In 1886 Parliament passed the first piece of legislation dealing directly with the mental health of its members, the Lunacy … Continue reading ‘Of unsound mind’? MPs, mental health and the 1886 Lunacy (Vacating of Seats) Act

‘Skulking on the Poop’: the court martial of Captain Henry Rufane 1745

Today’s blog for Mental Health Awareness Week is from Dr Robin Eagles of the Lords 1660-1832 Section. He describes the controversy surrounding the mental and physical health of Marine Captain Henry Rufane during his trial following a battle at sea with the forces of the Young Pretender in 1745… In the summer of 1745 Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender) launched his bid for the British … Continue reading ‘Skulking on the Poop’: the court martial of Captain Henry Rufane 1745