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Broadmoor Revealed (Paperback)

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > True Crime Women of History

By Mark Stevens
Imprint: Pen & Sword Social History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526796479
Published: 11th November 2020
Last Released: 11th August 2021



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Glimpse what went on behind the walls of England's first Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

Mark Stevens reveals what life was like for the criminally insane, over one hundred years ago. From fresh research into the Broadmoor archives, Mark has uncovered the lost lives of patients whose mental illnesses led them to become involved in crime.

Discover the five women who went on to become mothers in Broadmoor, giving birth to new life when three of them had previously taken it. Find out how several Victorian immigrants ended their hopeful journeys to England in madness and disaster. And follow the nail-biting numerous escapes, actual and attempted, as the first doctors tried to assert control over the residents.

As well as bringing the lives of forgotten inmates to light, this thrilling book reveals new perspectives on some of the hospital's most famous Victorian patients:

Edward Oxford, the bar boy who shot at Queen Victoria. Richard Dadd, the brilliant artist and murderer of his own father. William Chester Minor, veteran of the American Civil War who went on to play a key part in the first Oxford English Dictionary. Christiana Edmunds, 'The Chocolate Cream Poisoner' and frustrated lover from Brighton.

Each chapter is jam packed with information taken from the archives, building up a picture of Broadmoor as an institution, the patients that resided inside and events that led them to its door. It is presented in a concise and entertaining way ... Stevens takes the reader on a journey that will challenge any pre-conceptions on the Victorian Asylum, lunatics and even Broadmoor itself.

Historical Honey

A compelling and fascinating book and a useful addition to our understanding of mental illness.

The Local Historian

It challenges preconceptions about mental illness and public reaction to shocking crimes.

Bracknell Forest Standard

Sensitively written…paints a fascinating picture

Who Do You Think You Are?

Detailed and thoughtful.

Times Literary Supplement

Still known today as one of the country's three high-security psychiatric hospitals, it has a colourful history, which has been assiduously brought to light by Mark Stevens of Berkshire Record Office. A fascinating insight into the country's most famous asylum for criminals

Your Family Tree

It challenges preconceptions about mental illness and public reaction to shocking crimes. This new version published by Pen and Sword in hardback and ebook form tells some new stories and others in depth.

Get Reading

Broadmoor Revealed will find ready audiences. It's likely to be the popular read. Mark Stevens skilfully uses his access to Broadmoor's records and is especially good at describing the experiences of the female patients.

The Howard Journal

Our top choice. Superb updated and expanded version, packed with stories of some of the colourful characters who graced Broadmoor's wards in the 19th century. Told with a witty turn-of-phrase, Stevens' entertaining style lifts these fascinating characters off the page. You'd be mad not to read it.

Family Tree

Broadmoor, Britain’s first hospital for the criminally insane, was founded 150 years ago this month. Historian Mark Stevens has spent 10 years researching the place for Broadmoor Revealed..
He says: ‘Victorian doctors were surprisingly compassionate. They provided good food, healthy occupations, hobbies and uplifting surroundings. And it did work because some patients ended up well enough to go back to their families.”

Sunday People, May 19 2013

About Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens is Senior Archivist at Berkshire Record Office, responsible for looking after the Broadmoor Asylum archives.

Death of Richard Dadd

7th January 1886

Victorian artist Richard Dadd died in Broadmoor Hospital on 7 January 1886.

View all events View all anniversaries

Perfect Partner

Broadmoor Women Tales from Britain's First Criminal Lunatic Asylum (Paperback)

Broadmoor, Britain’s first asylum for criminal lunatics, was founded in 1863. In the first years of its existence, one in five patients was female. Most had been tried for terrible crimes and sent to Broadmoor after being found not guilty by virtue of insanity. Many had murdered their own children, while others had killed husbands or other family members. Drawing on Broadmoor’s rich archive, this book tells the story of seven of those women, ranging from a farmer’s daughter in her 20s who shot dead her own mother to a middle-class housewife who drowned her baby daughter. Their moving stories…

By Kim Thomas

Click here to buy both titles for £29.98
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