Lincolnshire Archive by Anya Fitzgerald

Today proved to be an interesting day for us as we took a trip to the Lincoln Archive, a place which allowed us to view information regarding The Lawn, by looking at the original documents which would have been created when it was being used as the Lunatic Asylum. These documents included, Physician Journals, Register of Patients and Register of Restraints.

The document which Ellie and I focused on was the Register of Restraints.

Opening the fragile book, on the first page there was a letter which would have been sent to someone who was considered at the time to be a lunatic. I managed to copy down what this said, as I thought it could potentially be recorded and used in our piece.

‘Gentlemen, having reason to believe from personal enquiry and from the annexed certificate that (Full name) of the parish of (Parish name) in the county of (County name) is a lunatic, we request that he/she may be admitted to the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum.

We are gentlemen, your obedient servants.’

Reading this, I at first thought that as it seemed quite an abrupt letter, which suggested to me that patients were treated harshly, but with a further investigation, methods of restraint did not seem too extreme, and other documents suggested that Entertainment of the patients was quite an important matter.

‘Entertainment for the patients was an important part of their treatment, and provision was made varying from the purchase of Dominoes, a fox and goose board and draughts. (Lawn I/3/106) of the penny and a choice of weekly magazines in the 1830’s (Lawn I/3/222, 247, 233, 292) to music, dancing, cricket, quoits, football, bowls and croquet in 1871.) In 1871 boating, picnics, special dances, theatrical performances, lectures and concerts.’

I was quite surprised after reading the section on entertainment, as from what i already new about asylum’s I did not expect patients to be treated as such. I think the trip to archive was very interesting, and as many historical facts have been gathered, I think it has gave us a good start on the research process.

Lincolnshire Archive

Lincolnshire Archive

Lincolnshire Archive Document Request Form

Lincolnshire Archive Document Request Form

Anya Fitzgerald


8 thoughts on “Lincolnshire Archive by Anya Fitzgerald

  1. Yes Anya I think the information you found is useless and will help create a more accurate script for our audio. I think maybe further research into specific patients might be our next step, what do you think?

    • When we went to The Archive we could not access a lot of information regarding the patients, as the documents were not 100 years old. They do not allow public to see documents which are under this age. So if we were to find out more about specific patients, we may need to use other forms of research, like the internet.

      I think if we are going with our past present and future idea for the Lawn, our next step should be to try and gather as much information about the present and future as we currently have about the past. What do you think?

  2. Good conversations, well done. I am pleased to see you using the blog as a process tool. Anya, I think the material that you noted from the archive could be really interesting to use in the performance. Consider how you could use it in the audio to the audience, perhaps if it is said on the recording it could insinuate that the audience is being admitted into the asylum? To develop this discussion further incorporate some of the reading material (don’t forget to reference).

  3. Maybe we could try and create an emotional atmosphere, I think the audience will find it more shocking that the hospital didn’t use such harsh restraints, and will sympathise with the characters we choose as well as finding the president of the building to be an inspiration?

    • Yes Ellie, i agree. Lauren i think this is the only thing that has changed about the ideas we had. Rather than try and scare the person viewing our piece, we thought we should aim to educate them more and get an insight to the positive sides of the asylum. I know after viewing the documents, I don’t think I will find the atmosphere of The Lawn as disturbing as when I first viewed it.

    • Ellie I agree, I think that we need educate and connect to the audiences emotional side and make them sympathise with the situations they were in and why they were put in there.

    • The trip to the archive has given me some ideas and some more knowledge on the historical aspects of the lawn. I am not sure what you mean by different approach though, perhaps some more ideas which would have more of a direct link to the asylum, but not getting rid of the ideas we already had. What did you think of the information i have collected, do you think it could be useful?

      Anya Fitzgerald

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