‘Bedlam’ notable patients.

Augustus Pugin – An English Architect best known for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style and his designs for the interior of the Palace of Westminster. In 1852 he suffered a complete breakdown, resulting in a four month stay at Bethlem Hospital. Located at St George’s fields, the hospital overlooked St George’s Cathedral, the building designed by Pugin himself, and where he married his wife in 1848.

At that time, Bethlem Hospital was opposite St George’s Cathedral, one of Pugin’s major buildings, where he had married his third wife, Jane, in 1848. Jane and a doctor removed Pugin from Bedlam and took him to a private house in Hammersmith where they attempted therapy, and he recovered sufficiently to recognise his wife. In September, Jane took her husband back to The Grange in Ramsgate, where he died on 14 September 1852.

On Pugin’s death certificate, the cause listed was “convulsions followed by coma”. Pugin’s biographer, Rosemary Hill, suggests that, in the last year of his life, he was suffering from hyperthyroidism which would account for his symptoms of exaggerated appetite, perspiration, and restlessness. Hill writes that Pugin’s medical history, including eye problems and recurrent illness from his early twenties, suggests that he contracted syphilis in his late teens, and this may have been the cause of his death at the age of 40.

Daniel M’Naghten – The catalyst for the creation of the M’Naghten Rules (criteria for the defence of insanity in the British legal system.)

In 1843, Daniel M’Naghten shot and killed Edward Drummond, Secretary to the Prime minister of Britain, Sir Robert Peel. M’Naghten believed that he was being persecuted by the Government, but it became clear that he was suffering from a severe mental illness. His delusions allowed M’Naghten to be found not guilty at trail, on the grounds that he was not of sound mind at the time of the crime.
There was a mass public outrage that a man should in effect ‘get away with murder’, and the House of Lords realised that a clear definition of insanity must be set for future cases. The M’Naghten Rules were created as a solution, and the beginning of change for the criminally insane arose.

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