Chiswick House

London

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1892X

The Tuke brothers took over Chiswick House as an asylum, and it remained open until 1928. When Charles Molesworth Tuke died in 1925, his obituary said ‘he made for himself a name that will be lasting and that stands for all that is best and most human in the treatment of insanity’.

1892

1896X

In an 1896 report by the Commissioners in Lunacy and the Board of Control, it was stated that ‘the rooms are warm and comfortable’.  Other reports noted the extensive use of the grounds by patients.


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1896

1898X

Francis Peter Gervais was admitted to Chiswick House Asylum. We have been able to trace some details of his life through records – we know he lived through the First World War and died in 1918. An Irish landowner, he was interested in proving that William Shakespeare really was the author of his own plays, and he wrote a book about this.


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1898

1924X

We have also been researching the record of Miss Violet Eleanor Mills who was admitted at Chiswick in 1924, suffering from insomnia and possibly from the bad effects of dentistry under gas. She left later the same year, and lived to the age of 72.


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1924

1950X

The wings of the house used by the Tuke brothers for their asylum were torn down in the 1950s, and there is now little sign that the elegant 18th century house ever had this use. However, records survive at the Wellcome Collection.

1950

Chiswick House was built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729. Inspired by the Roman and 16th century Italian art and architecture he saw while on a Grand Tour, he used the building to display his art collection and entertain friends.

By the turn of the 20th century, the building had quite a different use: it was used by the Tuke brothers as a private asylum for up to forty patients with complaints ranging from addiction to epilepsy. The asylum was known for its humane treatment of patients, and when Charles Molesworth Tuke died in 1925, his obituary said ‘he made for himself a name that will be lasting and that stands for all that is best and most human in the treatment of insanity’.

The wings of Chiswick House used for the asylum were demolished in the 1950s, so there is now little sign of the Tukes’ work. However, their casebooks are now archived at the Wellcome Library.

 

The timeline

1892

The Tuke brothers took over Chiswick House as an asylum, and it remained open until 1928. When Charles Molesworth Tuke died in 1925, his obituary said ‘he made for himself a name that will be lasting and that stands for all that is best and most human in the treatment of insanity’.

1896

In an 1896 report by the Commissioners in Lunacy and the Board of Control, it was stated that ‘the rooms are warm and comfortable’.  Other reports noted the extensive use of the grounds by patients.

1898

Francis Peter Gervais was admitted to Chiswick House Asylum. We have been able to trace some details of his life through records – we know he lived through the First World War and died in 1918. An Irish landowner, he was interested in proving that William Shakespeare really was the author of his own plays, and he wrote a book about this.

1924

We have also been researching the record of Miss Violet Eleanor Mills who was admitted at Chiswick in 1924, suffering from insomnia and possibly from the bad effects of dentistry under gas. She left later the same year, and lived to the age of 72.

1950

The wings of the house used by the Tuke brothers for their asylum were torn down in the 1950s, and there is now little sign that the elegant 18th century house ever had this use. However, records survive at the Wellcome Collection.