Thursday, December 15, 2016

History Geek Out: How "Bedlam" Became a Place For Lunatics

This is a great story! 

Did not know this.

"Designed by Robert Hooke, a City Surveyor, natural philosopher and assistant to Christopher Wren, its 540ft-long (165m) façade – complete with Corinthian columns and cupola-topped turret – was inspired by Louis XIV’s Tuileries Palace in Paris. It looked over formal gardens with tree-lined promenades. The overall impression was of the French king’s opulent estate at Versailles, not of an asylum. As one writer put it in 1815, “it was for many years the only building which looked like a Palace in London.”

"According to Jay, “It was part of an attempt to recreate London as something grand and modern, instead of the old medieval timber warrens that that part of London consisted of before the fire. And it was a kind of civic pride, and it was a sense of charitable mission: that this was going to make London a grander and better place for everybody. A ‘palace for lunatics’,"


So "bedlam" started out as a social justice/virtue signalling project. 

The more things change....