Camberwell House Asylum

  • Camberwell House Asylum
mid 19th century - late 19th century
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Volumes 2-3 of the case books of Camberwell House, a private lunatic asylum (metropolitan licensed house) at Camberwell, Surrey.

The casebooks contain records for approximately 900 people. The volumes contain no internal indexes but an alphabetical list of patient names has been compiled for each volume (see individual item level records for MS.6220 and MS.6221).

Volume 2 contains records for people admitted 1847-1850 with further notes on the some of the same patients through 1876. Volume 3 contains admission records for 1850-1853 with further records on some of the same patients through 1887.


mid 19th century - late 19th century

Physical description

2 volumes

Acquisition note

Purchased from R D Gurney Ltd, 1981 (acc. 334939).

Biographical note

The asylum was founded in 1846 by John Hayball Paul (1816-1899), who was also medical superintendent, 1846-99. Paul entered into partnership with F.G. Aubin and Alfred Richards as Aubin & Co., this firm being the official owner of the asylum at one period.

During the span of these case books the asylum admitted mainly pauper patients.

It closed in 1955.

For further historical background see N.B. Hervey, "The Lunacy Commission 1845-60, with special reference to ... Kent and Surrey", University of Bristol PhD thesis, 1987, Vol. 2, pp. 155-56, 173, 111-12; W. H. Blanch, Ye Parish of Camberwell pp.348-349 (E.W. Allen, 1875); and Fiona Subotsky and Jill Dudman, "The Founders of Camberwell House Asylum" (Friends of West Norwood Cemetery Newsletter No.73, January 2012, pp.8-11).

Related material

At other repositories:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, holds: Vol. 1 of the Camberwell House case books, containing information on admissions nos. 1-441 (1846-1847) and notes up to the 1860s; two volumes containing admissions records nos.201-600 for pauper patients (1846-1848); the Visitors' Book of Commissioners in Lunacy, 1846-1865; photographs of the asylum (part of the asylum building, tennis court and the grounds); laundry rules (c. 1910); and a notice for a lecture and a concert held in the theatre at the asylum (c. 1920s).

Finding aids

Database description taken from that in: Richard Palmer, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine: Western Manuscripts 5120-6244 (London: The Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine, 1999).

Ownership note

Formerly in the collection of Dr R.A. Hunter.


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Accession number

  • 334939