Change Minds investigates case records of people admitted to St Andrew’s Hospital, Thorpe St Andrew in the 1880s. The records are held in Case Book volumes in Norfolk Record Office, and have been digitised as part of the project. Below is a transcription of one case record and a link to a PDF of the original pages in the case book.

In the right hand column you will find links to other case records in the original form.  The PDFs are downloadable or can be read in browser.

Each case record is a window onto the experiences of that person through the eyes of asylum staff, including Thomas J Compton M.B. who was the assistant medical officer at what was then called The County Lunatic Asylum.

The entry for Thorpe in Kelly’s Directory for Norwich 1883 describes it thus:

“One miles south-east of the village is the County Lunatic Asylum, erected in 1814, consisting of a range of buildings of white brick, which have undergone extensive alterations: the interior is exceedingly light & clean, the grounds are spacious & the air healthy: additional buildings were erected in 1869-70& in 1873-74: the house at present contains 175 male & 313 female patients. A large red brick building, commanding an extensive view of the surrounding countryside was erected in 1880, pm the confines of the farm, for chronic, imbecile & harmless patients; males 117, women 116; William Charles Hills M.D. resident medical superintendent; Thomas J. Compton M.B. assistant medical officer; Alexander McWilliam M.A., M.B. junior assistant medical officer; Charles Williams, hon. visiting medical officer; Rev. Edward Ram, chaplain; R. W. Hoddy, examiner of accounts; W. M. Girling, clerk & house steward; R. M. Phipson, architect; Wm. Birkbeck, treasurer; Peter E. Hansell esq. clerk to the committee of visitors; Mrs. Arnoup, housekeeper; Miss F. Nuti, head female attendant; James Ramsey, head male attendant. Miss Nertha Waters. housekeeper & head attendant. The committee meet on the last Tuesday in every month, at 11 o’clock, at the Asylum”

Harriet Susannah Ward

Harriet sus ward

Admitted: December 14th 1881   

Occupation: Domestic Servant

Residence: Watton

Religion: Primitive Methodist

Education: Read & write

Height: 5 foot, 2 inches

Weight: 10 stone, 6 pounds

Married or Single: Single

No. of Children: –

Duration: 12 days

About 12 days since she became restless and unusually talkative, from this time she has been getting gradually more troublesome. She did not leave her situation until a week since, which she had held for 2 years and had an excellent character. She has now spectral illusions fancying a man with a lamp is constantly at the foot of the bed. She told her father she was likely to have considerable property. At night she is restless and rather disposed to be destructive to clothing. She has also an inclination to wander away from home without any reason for so doing. She evinces antipathy to her father and mother to whom hither to shown strong affection.

On Admission:

Mind: Quiet, and able to answer questions correctly.

Body: Well nourished and apparently free from any organic disease.

December 15th – She is rather depressed and timid, but she slept very well last night, has so far taken all her food and has been no trouble. She evidently has a delusion that she saw people at night when she was at home, but says that now they do not trouble her.

December 17th – She continues quiet and manageable, conforms willingly to the routine and has already assisted in cleaning and washing up things in the ward. She sleeps well and does not give expression to any delusions. She seems at times morbidly thoughtful but beyond this nothing unnatural in her manner or conservation can be detected.

December 25th – She is rather inclined to be melancholy but she is industrious sleeps well and is no trouble whatsoever. She occupies herself willingly in various ways. She takes her food well and enjoys good health.

January 6th 1882 – She is quiet and reserved, but she has for the last few days been employed in the kitchen where she works well. Talks rationally and does not give expression to any delusions. Sleeps well at night and takes all her food.

January 26th – She continues to work industriously in the kitchen. She is quiet, but talks sensibly and does not appear to have any delusions. Her health is good. She sleeps well at night and eats heartily.

February 20th – She seems as far as can be ascertained to be now in her natural state so it is proposed that she shall at the next committee meeting be discharged as having recovered.

February 28th – At the committee meeting today, she was discharged as having recovered.

Weight: 10 stone, 11 pounds

Thomas J Compton

Sample case study page

Below is a copy of the first page of Harriet’s Case Study in the form which it appears in teh heavy bound volumes at Norfolk Record Office.

Harriet ward sample

Edward Thompson

Finnette Woodrow

Page 1

Page 2

Mary Macro

Page 1

Page 2

Samuel Moore

Page 1 

Page 2

George Alderton

Page 1

Page 2

Further case records

Click on the pictures to open the documents. These can be downloaded and read as PDF or opened in browser.

May Warner
May Warner#3
Maude Alger
Maude Alger#2
Matthew Greenwood
Matthew Greenwood#2
Mary Groom
Mary Groom#2
Maria Thompson
Maria Thompson#2
Honor Chatton
Honor Chatton#2
Harriet Ward
Harriet Ward#1
George Noble
George Noble#2
George Kellow
George Kellow#1
Flora Cooper
Flora Cooper#2
Emma Cooker
Emma Cooker#1
Elizabeth Woods
Elizabeth Woods#2
Charlotte Leeder
Charlotte Leeder#2
 Annie Bull
Annie Bull#2
Thomas Butler
Thomas Butler#2
Robert Watson
Robert Watson#2
 Susannah Cage

sus portrait