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The Lawn Hospital

The Hospital was founded in 1819 as the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum, with the costs raised by subscription. The appeal was organised by a committee presided over by Lord Yarborough and including the Bishop of Lincoln, Earl Brownlow and three MPs. Subscribers were predominantly from the nobility, gentry and clergy of the county.

The original constitution stated that patients were to be treated “with all the tenderness and indulgence compatible with the steady and effectual government of them and every occupation which may divert the mind, win the attention and awaken the affections be cheerfully and readily promoted.” Patients were to be “persons of the superior class who shall contribute to the general expense of the establishment according to their ability and persons in more limited circumstances whose payments shall be relieved, when opportunity may offer, out of the disposable funds of the charity.”

The hospital is significant in the history of the treatment of mental illness for the pioneering work carried out on the abolition of mechanical restraint and isolation, particularly under Dr EP Charlesworth (1783-1853) and Dr RG Hill (1811-1878). Their enlightened methods were gradually adopted by other asylums. Early work was also carried out on the classification of patients according to the state of their health. Entertainment formed an important aspect of treatment, and board games and popular magazines were purchased for use by the patients.

Following the opening of the County Lunatic Asylum at Bracebridge Heath in 1852, there was an increasing emphasis on fee-paying patients. The Asylum was re-named as The Lawn Hospital for the Insane in 1885. The Hospital was taken over by the National Health Service in 1948 and was finally closed in 1985.

Occupations of patients recorded in the early 20th century include Farmer, Mechanical Engineer, Solicitor’s Daughter, Milliner, Tea Merchant, Corn Merchant, School Teacher. Apprentice, Farmer’s Wife, Commercial Traveller, Daughter of Potato Merchant, Medical Practitioner, Registrar of County Court, Shop Assistant, Housewife, Widow, Timber Merchant, Retired Farmer and Clergyman’s Daughter.

Look Out For


OPEM exhibition at The Collection

28 January - 2 May 2017

Exhibition Opening Times: 10:00am - 4:00pm


OPEM 4 is the fourth biennial open exhibition hosted by The Collection and Usher Gallery, and will showcase the work of local and regional artists who were chosen by a pair of industry experts (writer/curator Elinor Morgan and artist Brian Griffiths) based on the quality and originality of their work. Hundreds of artists from around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and more entered into the competition, hoping to have their work featured centre-stage at a professional art exhibition.


The winning artists are:

• Reece Straw

• Jake Kent

• Stephanie Douet

• Jake Moore

• Selina Mosinski

• Matthew Chesney

• Ellen Brady

• Colette Griffin


This will be the first time some of these artists have exhibited with a professional institution. By winning the competition these artists will each receive money and supplies to fund the creation of an all-new original piece of work for this particular show. Other prizes include a £3000 purchasing/commissioning prize which has been sponsored by the Heslam Trust, while another artist will receive their own solo exhibition in The Usher Gallery.


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Last updated: 15 August 2014

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