Troubled proximities: asylums and cemeteries in nineteenth-century England

Philo, C. (2012) Troubled proximities: asylums and cemeteries in nineteenth-century England. History of Psychiatry, 23(1), pp. 91-103. (doi: 10.1177/0957154X11428931)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Asylums and cemeteries in nineteenth-century England were kindred spirits in the anxiety and exclusionary impulses that they engendered, leading them to be similarly exiled from nineteenth-century urban areas. They were uneasy ‘neighbours’, however, with contemporary authorities condemning the proximity of cemeteries to asylums on medical and moral grounds. The appearance at many asylums after mid-century of a burial-ground for deceased residents, usually located on an asylum’s own estate, was often criticized on grounds similar to those raised with respect to neighbouring parochial burial-grounds. Other objections arose to the ‘exclusivity’ of asylum-based burials, with off-site burial arrangements clearly being favoured. One consequence was that on-site asylum cemeteries ended up being treated as unwelcome occupants of asylum estates, hidden away as an embarrassment, creating a legacy of anonymity still generating concerns in the present.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Philo, Professor Christopher
Authors: Philo, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:History of Psychiatry

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record