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Presumed Curable: An Illustrated Casebook of Victorian Psychiatric Patients in Bethlem Hospital

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1150
  1. Sean A Spence, reader in general adult psychiatry (
  1. University of Sheffield

    Bethlem is one of the most prestigious institutions in the history of psychiatry, its antecedents dating from the 13th century. Between 1886 and 1895 some 300 photographs were taken of its inpatients. At that time, evolution and its ugly sister, eugenics, were on the rise, and one can only speculate on the purpose of these images (though they were probably used for teaching).

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    Colin Gale, Robert Howard

    Wrightson Biomedical Publishing, £14.50, pp 128 ISBN 1 871816 48 3

    Rating: GraphicGraphic

    Sixty one of the patients featured in the book are identified by name, their photographs …

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