The building of asylums throughout the country in the middle of the 19th Century expressly for the pauper mentally ill, who would otherwise have had no means of obtaining any medical care at all for themselves or their family members, was enlightened thinking by the Victorians.
Victorian doctors of the mentally ill (or 'alienists' as they were known) were dedicated physicians who laboured under difficult circumstances to provide care, and occasionally cure, for their patients, whose numbers were to rise remorselessly throughout the Century.
This biography of Dr Henry Parsey, the first physician to the Warwick Asylum at Hatton, is a study of a 19C. provincial alienist’s medical training and career - with an intimate glimpse of his domestic life in his last years – and discusses extensively the care of the mentally ill (such as it was) before - and after - the asylum era.
Dr Parsey was a pupil of two of the most famous English physicians to the mentally ill, Dr John Conolly and Sir John Bucknill; both of whom had been in medical practice in Warwickshire.
Under Dr Henry Parsey’s supervision, the Warwick Asylum was internationally respected for the excellence of its care, yet he remained ‘unrecognised by the world at large’: he merits the same recognition given to other illustrious Victorian alienists.