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Categories of Patients

Hosp Rauceby 1-10-1 p35

Pauper Lunatics maintained at the expense of Poor Law Unions (Guardians’ Committees from 1930). In some cases, the patient had been an inmate at a workhouse, whether briefly or long-term, before being transferred to the asylum. The Reception Order for admission of a pauper lunatic had to be signed by a Justice of the Peace, and was accompanied by a Medical Certificate signed by a medical practitioner. This category of patient disappeared with the creation of the National Health Service in 1948.

Private Patients or Boarders (Voluntary Boarders from 1890), paying for their upkeep, could be found in institutions such as the Lawn, which were not pauper asylums. The Lunacy Act, 1890, allowed County asylums to build wards for private patients. This category became Informal Patients in 1959. In contrast to other categories of patients, these were not certified or otherwise compulsorily detained.

Criminal Lunatics was a classification, first introduced by the Criminal Lunatics Act 1800, which enabled prisoners with mental health problems to be detained indefinitely in asylums rather than prisons. Many fell under the remit of the Home Office.

Service Patients. This category, publicly funded, but treated as private patients, was introduced in 1916 at the height of the Great War, to deal with the large number of military personnel with mental health issues caused by the stress of combat, including “Shell Shock”.

As well as the mentally ill, the asylums used to house patients with mental disabilities. The Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, divided these patients into four categories: Idiots, Imbeciles, Feeble-minded People and Moral Defectives. In the 20th Century their distinct needs began to be recognised, and another set of institutions was created in the county, including Caistor Hospital (1931), Harmston Hall Hospital (1935), and St Peter’s Hospital in Bourne (1930) and Holbeach Hospital. These were later replaced by more community based services.

Look Out For

Battles and Dynasties

Battles and Dynasties

27 May - 3 September 2017

Battles and Dynasties explores the conflict for the crown from Domesday to present day through fascinating documents, paintings and artefacts each fundamental to our local and national heritage. The Exhibition runs from 27 May to 3 September 2017 at the Collection Museum.

It's an unmissable opportunity to see significant pieces on our doorstep here in Lincolnshire, including major objects and paintings that are rarely shown outside of London and some things from private collections that are never on display. Read more about the exhibition here


As part of the Battles and Dynasties the Domesday Book, the country's earliest surviving public record will be on show at Lincoln Castle this summer.

This is a rare and unmissable opportunity to see Domesday on display, in a castle built by the same king that ordered the document. The iconic document will be on display in the David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault. Read more about Domesday at Lincoln Castle here

This exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. Lincolnshire County Council would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

Battles and Dynasties has been brought together by Lincolnshire County Council and Lord Cormack in partnership with the Historic Lincoln Trust, The National Archives and the British Library.


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Last updated: 20 August 2014

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