Gaslight Stories: Women in White, Eccentric Heirs, Inconvenient People

Time & place

The 1800s saw a series of scandals concerning individuals being locked away in lunatic asylums – the victims of unscrupulous persons who wanted to be rid of a ‘difficult’ family member, spouse or friend. But who were the victims of this trade?

And to what extent was it carried on? Why was it a problem for the wealthy and less so for the poor?

Was a male head of household simply able to ‘put away’ an unwanted wife or disobedient daughter? Sarah Wise examines a number of disputed lunacy cases, ranging from the 1820s to the 1890s - including the unsavoury incident that Sir Alexander Morison himself became embroiled in.

This lecture will be introduced by Colin McKay, Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission.