Caring can be learned by all human beings,
can be worked into the design of every life,
meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need in society.
©️Mary Catherine Bateson
There are very few that give themselves soulfully to others.
Dedicating their lives to the care and understanding, that so many of us need but don’t know how to ask for help or except help.
Mental health support has thankfully come on a very long way. It is now mostly openly talked about and is beginning to be understood and excepted. Even though we have a long way to go, gone are the days that you would have been locked away in a Lunatic asylum and left to the mercy of their keepers.
Throughout history especially in the Victorian era, asylums were a miserable isolation. They were cold uncaring places were many people were admitted, not because they were truly needed help but because their families were ashamed or did not having the understanding which we are gracefully lucky to be blessed with today.
In February 2016, the below image of a list purportedly documenting dozens of reasons why people were committed to insane asylums between 1864 and 1889 began circulating on social media. I can not even begin to get my head around the reasons such as “novel reading,” “laziness,” or the “overstudy of religion” would get you admitted. How on Earth was it allowed. Crazy.
Asylums doctors, nurses and matrons etc, over the years formed bad reputations for cruelty but I hope that they weren’t all uncaring souls and that they went into the occupations because they truly wanted to help people.
It is believed the our ancestor Elizabeth Hillier my husbands, 3rd Great Grandaunt and the sister inlaw of my 3rd cousin 4x removed, went into nursing because she really did care and wanted to help people as well as making a difference.
I’m sure throughout her life she saw many horrors that should never been seen, heard deafening cry’s of her patients.
Elizabeth must have had great strength and compassion and I feel overwhelmingly proud of her for giving her life to help others.
This is her story.
The Life Of Elizabeth Hillier
Welcome to the year 1844, Queen Victoria was on the throne, Robert Peel (Conservative) was prime minister, Foreign Secretary was George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen. It was the 14th Parliament.
The Royal Exchange in London opened by Queen Victoria.
Factory Act imposes a maximum 12-hour working day for women, and a maximum 6-hour day for children aged 6 to 13.
A blackdamp explosion at Haswell Colliery in the Durham Coalfield killed 95, with just four survivors.
Romsey annual election of Guardians for the Union were selected. Enos Hillier was selected to represent Lockerley and Charles Moody, to represent West Wellow,(both family names and possible relatives.) They were among many others who’s surnames are still well known today in Romsey and surrounding villages and hamlets.
And Elizabeth Hillier was born to Enos Hillier (possibly the Enos Hillier named above.) Son of Thomas Hillier and Mary Hillier nee Kingston and Elizabeth Hillier nee Grist, daughter of William Grist and Mary Grist nee Russell.
Elizabeth was born on Monday, the 15th of April, 1844, at Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
Her father Enos was working as a Yeoman, at the time of her birth.
Her mother Elizabeth, registered her birth on Friday the 26th of April, 1844, in Mitchelmersh near Romsey, Hampshire, England
Lockerley is a village and civil parish in Hampshire, England on the border with Wiltshire. The village lies on the southern bank of the River Dun about two miles upstream from its confluence with the River Test and about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) east of West Dean which is just over the Wiltshire border. The nearest town is Romsey, about 8 kilometres (5 mi) to the south-east and is about 13 miles from Salisbury.
The village is grouped round Butts Green in the north of the parish. To the east is a brick farm-house of early 18th-century date. North of the village and separated from it by the London and South Western Railway are the church and rectory. West of the church is Lockerley or Ford Mill apparently of late 17th-century date, now much modernized. North-west of Lockerley village is Lockerley Green, the two villages being practically joined by their straggling outskirts. East of Lockerley village between the Manor Farm and Canefield is a large earthwork. Painshill is in the south-west of the parish; Holbury, which lies north, is now partly included in the parish of East Tytherley. Holbury Mill is said to stand on the site of one of the mills mentioned in Domesday Book, and there are many references to it in records. Roman coins and pottery have been found near Holbury Farm, and the remains of two ancient camps and a Roman villa are still to be seen in the neighbourhood.
The subsoil is gravel, the soil chalk and clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and turnips.
Butler’s Wood was inclosed in July 1815, under the Act of 1811.
Enos and Elizabeth, baptised Elizabeth, on Monday the 27th of May, 1844, at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
The original Chapel of St. John The Evangelist, was built by William Briwere, founder of Mottisfont Abbey in C1200.
The 1855 census describes the old Saxon church as “a small mean building with tile roof and wooden belfry containing two bells”. Perhaps this is why the Dalgety family felt the need to rebuild. In the churchyard in spring, rows of daffodils mark the outline of the walls of the old church; the cornerstones remain and an old tombstone placed horizontally marks the site of the altar. A model of the old church, presented by Captain Dalgety, is on view in the porch. Little else remains of the old church, once again in the porch, you will notice the old font and, set in the wall above the inner doorway, are the weather cock and a piece of carved oak from the gallery.
The present church was consecrated on October 16th 1890 and was built alongside the old Saxon church which was demolished.
The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 10th August 1889 by Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety of Lockerley Hall and he built the church at his sole expense.
Not even a year later on Wednesday the 29th January 1845, at Lockerley, Hampshire, Elizabeth’s father, Eneas Hillier, a 39 year old, Yeoman, sadly died from inflammation of the bowels.
John Harvey, of Lockerley, was present and registered his death on Monday the 3rd of February, 1845.
Elizabeth and her family, laid Eneas to rest on Tuesday the 4th of February 1845, at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
I can’t even begin to think about the grief the family would have felt, especially as Elizabeth would not have remembered her father or the love he would have had for her. To never remember your fathers face, his laugh, learn his sense of humour, feel comfort in his smile and see love radiating from his eyes, is the worst possible fate. My soul truly aches for her.
I hope he was talked about often and freely, so Elizabeth could connect with him through others memories.
My heart also aches for, Elizabeth’s Mum, Elizabeth. Losing her husband and having to bring up her four children, William, Walter, Henry and Elizabeth alone, as well as still grieving for her daughter, Emily, who had sadly passed away in 1837.
To lose a child is bad enough, but to lose the man you love, the man you were going to spend the rest of your life with, the man you were going to grow old with, must have been pure torture. My heart truly bleeds for her and for young Elizabeth.
Just over five months later, Elizabeth’s mum Elizabeth, remarried a man called, George Barry Moody, a yeoman, son of George Moody, a yeoman and Elizabeth Moody nee Barry.
They wed on Wednesday the 30th of July, 1845, at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
Their witnesses were George Southwell and Hellen Grist.
Both Elizabeth and Hellen, signed with an X.
I wonder if Eneas and George knew each other, possibly worked together?
I also wonder if they wed for love or security, hopefully a mix of both. Maybe even, Eneas had asked George to look after his family. Wouldn’t that be lovely.
I sincerely hope that George was a comfort to not only Elizabeth but all her children and that baby Elizabeth, grow up forming a father and daughter special bond. George would have been the only father figure she would have ever known. I wholeheartedly hope they had a special relationship.
On Sunday the 20th of December 1846, Elizabeth’s mum Elizabeth gave birth to a son, a baby brother for Elizabeth, William, Walter and Henry.
They named him George Thomas Moody.
George was born at Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
His Father, George Moody was working as a Yeoman, at the time of George’s birth.
Elizabeth (senior) registered George’s birth on Tuesday the 12th of January, 1847.
George used the name, Thomas Hillier, throughout his life and went on to marry, Susan Whetren, daughter of Jame Whetren and Sophia Sarah Vincent.
It wasn’t long until Elizabeth, William, Walter and Henry welcomed another Brother into the family.
Luther Barry Moody, was born on Saturday, the 13th of May, 1848, at Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
His father George was working as a Yeoman, at the time of his birth.
His mother Elizabeth, registered Luther’s birth on Friday, the 2nd of June, 1848, at Mitchelmersh.
She signed with an X.
Luther, went on to marry, Annie Elizabeth Gailor, daughter of John Gailor and Sarah Gailor nee Martin.
Just over two years later, Elizabeth and her siblings welcomed a sister into their family. Jane Ann Moody, was born on Tuesday the 16th of July, 1850, at Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
Her father George was working as a Yeaman, at the time of her birth
Her Mother Elizabeth, registered Jane Ann’s birth on, Friday the 2nd of August, 1850. She signed her name with an X.
Elizabeth and her family were soon welcoming in a new year. The year 1851.
Queen Victoria was on the throne, Lord John Russell (Whig) was Prime Minister.
Ariel and Umbriel, moons of Uranus, were discovered by William Lassell.
The Royal Marsden was established as the Free Cancer Hospital by surgeon William Marsden in London, it was the world’s first specialist cancer hospital.
Royal School of Mines was established, as the Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Art.
Maria Morgan licensee of the Kings Head Public House, in Lockerley, licence was suspended for keeping a disorderly house, after a complaint was laid by police-constable Thomas Marsh.
Ingenious and clever, Romsey townsman, Mr Francis Taylor, completed a cast of life size of Christ bearing his cross.
And the Census was taken, on Sunday, the 30th March, 1851. The United Kingdom Census 1851 was the first to include detailed ages, date of birth, occupations, and marital status of those listed. The population of the UK is revealed to have reached 21 million. 6.3 million live in cities of 20,000 or more in England and Wales and such cities account for 35% of the total English population. Uniquely, this census also counts attendance at places of religious worship. As part of the legacy of the Great Irish Famine, the population of Ireland had fallen to 6,575,000 – a drop of 1.6 million in ten years.
The census shows, Elizabeth living with her mother, Elizabeth and stepfather, George and her siblings, William, Walter, Henry, Thomas aka George, Luther and Jane Ann, at Butler’s Wood Cottage, Butler’s Wood, Lockerly, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Her stepfather George, was working as a Farmer, of 20 acres, and her bother, William was working as a Shoemakers Apprentice.
Elizabeth’s mum, Elizabeth was soon in the family way again and on Wednesday the 18th of June 1856, David Barry Moody, was born, at Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
His father George was working as a Farmer, at the time of his birth.
His Mother, Elizabeth, registered David’s birth on Friday the 27th of June 1856, in Romsey.
Elizabeth signed with an X.
David went on to marry, Agnes Louisa Warwick, daughter of Mr. William Warwick and Mrs Mary Warwick nee Carter.
Unfortunately Elizabeth disappears until the year 1871, there is no trace of her in the 1861 Census.
Sarah and I have a theory that she may have been training to be a nurse somewhere, but we just can’t seem to track her down.
If I am lucky enough to find her at a later date, I will update the information here.
However there is a great possibility that Elizabeth, was working at, Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as St Mary Bethlehem, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam.
Their Staff Salary Books 1777-1932 records show, an Elizabeth Hillier, working at the hospital from 1854 to 1857, as a laundress and then an attendant.
The reasoning behind why this could possibly be our Elizabeth, is that we know her sister, Jane Ann Barry Moody, worked at, Bethlem Royal Hospital, in 1891 as a Attendant. Also the family especially the Moodys and Hatchers, were linked to Florence Nightingale, whom established the first professional nursing school in the world at, St Thomas’ Hospital, London.
There is a very strong possibility Florence Nightingale, was Elizabeth and Jane’s inspiration into going into nursing and even possibly trained in her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital. This is yet to be proven.
I’m desperately searching any documentation I come across in hopes, I can find Elizabeth or Jane, training at St Thomas’s Hospital and of course I will continue to try and track Elizabeth down in the 1861 Census.
Jumping forward in time to the year 1871, Queen Victoria was on the throne, William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) was Prime Minister and it was the 20th Parliament.
Jane Clouson a servant girl, was murdered in Eltham.
A Nine Hours Strike began on Tyneside in favour of a shorter working day. Employers capitulate after 14 weeks.
The native-bred red kite became extinct in England.
A notice was put in the Hampshire Advertiser Newspaper for any persons having claims to the Estate of Thomas Sleat, yeoman of Lockerley, were required to send in the same at once to the undersigned. And all persons indebted to the said estate were requested to pay their accounts.
Three young men, named Marsh, Martin and Moody, were charged with disturbing a congregation at Nursling, on the 19th March, and fined 6d. Each and costs.
Silas Moody of East Wellow, (possibly the husband of my 3rd Great Grandaunt Sarah Hatcher) was fined 1s and costs for drunkenness.
And the Census was taken on Sunday, the 2nd of April, 1871. It shows Elizabeth was now living and working at, Essex Lunatic Asylum, South Weald, South Weald, Billericay, Essex, England. Elizabeth was working as a Matron at the Asylum.
The Essex County Asylum also known as Brentwood Lunatic Asylum or Warley Hospital, was the first County Asylum to be built within Essex.
The land was purchased in 1848, was 86 acres of the Brentwood Estate for a total sum of £8000 – apparently it was selected for its sufficient water supply and not its topographical nature.
The Foundation stone was laid on the 2nd of October, 1851 with 130 patients being admitted on the 23rd of September 1853.
The building was designed on a corridor plan and of a Tudor style, the buildings occupied an area of 8 acres and were designed with a population capacity of 300. This capacity was later increased during construction to 450 patients.
The ward blocks were referred to as ‘galleries’ and bore a uniform design, of single rooms, dormitories and day rooms. The wards were connected by open sided corridors with all services, except the bakehouse & brewery, being incorporated within the main building.
The asylum stood, enclosed except for its front entrance, in a brick wall surrounded by fields and woods sloping down to the south, west and north with a driveway on the east to the road. Across Warley Road was an open common.
Uncrowded until 1860, the wards were all self-contained units holding no more than their designated numbers. The galleries were curtainless and unfurnished, their walls whitewashed and the floors of many of them tiled. The unheated dormitories and single rooms, also whitewashed, contained only low wooden box-beds, with straw mattresses except in the Infirmaries. Water closets were not fitted to all wards and, although each ward had hot and cold water, washing facilities were scanty – one basin per ward.
After a few years, the straw mattresses were replaced by hair except for epileptics, the cold and damp tiled floros boarded and some furniture and pictures supplied for the galleries.
Only parts of the hospital were supplied by gas lighting, the single rooms having no lights until 1920.
There was no gas even in the Entertainment Hall until 1865 and the attendants’ rooms, all on the wards and only distinguisable from the single rooms by being 50% larger and having a fireplace, not until 1875.
The only water was a surface supply, continually contaminated by sewage from the cottages in Warley Road (and here let it be said that the asylum’s sewage, in open ditches, often overflowed into adjacent properties lower down the hill).
It is not surprising therefore that there were many out-breaks of intestinal infection; after an out-break diagnosed as “Asiatic Cholera” in 1854, a filter bed was built.
In 1863, an offer from the South Essex Waterworks Company to supply piped water was rejected on the grounds that the surface supply was “adequate”.
In 1869 there was a severe typhoid epidemic in which two attendants died and after another in 1884, a deep well was dug.
It would appear that little water was drunk, at the Asylum, due to it having its own brewery and ½ pint a head of beer was served to all patients at 11 a.m. and with their dinner.
For the staff, a nicely graded allowance of beer was made daily according to status, the Medical Superintendent receiving a “sufficiency”.
In 1877, 40,000 gallons were brewed, the brewer being paid £40 a year plus 5 pints of beer daily.
The relative costs of beverages in 1855 are an interesting commentary on the customs of the times :- Beer cost £498, Milk £157, Tea £160 and Coffee and Cocoa together £63.
In 1863, a patient unfortunately fell into the brewery copper and “died of lockjaw.”
For the first few years, all patients wore uniform clothing, black dresses with bonnets for the women, corduroy suits and hobnailed boots for the men.
Variety for women was introduced early but tweeds for men were not supplied for many years.
Ward staffing, by modern standards, was scanty, on a basis of one attendant per ward, the wards holding 28 to 34 patients; one night attendent on each side patrolled the galleries. A second female nigh attendent was appointed in 1865, but the experiment of having a married couple as attendants, one on each side, ended in their being dismissed for fighting one another on duty.
In 1856, the establishment was a Matron and Sub-Matron, 14 females attendants plus one at night, a Head Male Attendant, 8 attendants and one night attendant.
No uniforms were provided for the staff till 1877 when the men had a suit of cloths, a cap being added in 1884; for the women, caps and aprons, to be worn with their own black dresses, came into use in 1889, a uniform dress being issued in 1899.
From many different sources online, it appears that the attendants of the 1850’s and 1860’s were not always well selected and there are frequent references to intoxication on duty.
Sources state that the staffs pay would not attract what would have been classed as the better types.
Men were paid £28 a year and women were paid £18, whilst discipline was severe and restrictive.
Apparently the early clinical records, though kept in great detail, contain no references to medicinal treatment of the mental disorders other than the use of opium, though the intercurrent physical illnesses were treated with the polypharmacy of the day, blisters, leeches and occasional bleeding. The then common practice of doctors purging and bleeding exited patients, and so quietening them by sheer exhaustion, prior to their admission to the asylum was strongly deprecated.
The hospital was designed for “seclusion” treatment rather than the earlier “restraint” treatment, one-third of the patients being in single rooms. There are constant references in the reports of the early years to the non-use of restraint and to the non-existence of “apparatus of restraint”.
The advantages of recreational and diversional activities were well recognised and occupational therapy, not only of the strictly hospital-chores type, was undertaken, the proceeds of the sale of articles made going to the Benevolent Fund, started in 1857. In 1855, cricket equipment was provided for the male courts, one of which had a skittle shed. Bowls, quoits and lawn billiards were added a year or two later. Dances were held and regular entertainments given, the first in 1855 consisting of a musician and a ventriloquist. There was a library from 1857.
Between 1870 to 1880, Elizabeth would have seen great change at the Asylum.
A main supply of water for fire and general purposes was installed in 1870 though the use of the surface water continued. In 1871 the sewage was piped onto the farm lands with noticeable improvement in the vegetable crop and a lessening of the pollution of the neighbouring streams and other properties’ water supplies.
Patient numbers had increase and reached 645 in 1870 by which time a further block, had been built for 248 female patients, thus enabling a waiting list for admissions to be abandoned for the first time for some years.
This building was a great advance on the original block being arranged with the day space consisting of large rooms on the ground floor and the dormitories and single rooms above, all the walls were plastered and there was a pleasant central dining room, later converted into an extra ward (D.H.), and a separate kitchen. W.C.’s were, however, deficient in number.
Improvements were gradually introduced into the older buildings and by 1872 every ward had a W.C., but the washing facilities were poor and the water supply inadequate, three patients having to use the same bath water.
A new Recreation Hall was built on the site of the central Court in 1879. It can still be seen to have been an attractive and well-proportioned buliding, though now used as the General Stores.
The open cloistures bordering this court were closed in, the one in the south being the present main corridor, hence the odd existence of the obvious “outside” windows to the Matron’s offices, etc. opening into what is now an inside passage. The north cloistures are now incorporated into hte Stores and the west end closed off.
The old Hall under the original Chapel, was converted into an Epileptic Dormitory which it remained until 1950 when it became the Staff Cafeteria.
In 1877, the main kitchen was converted from open range to gas cookers. This was not, of course, the preent kitchen, but occupied the rooms now used as the Nurses’ Lecture Rooms, where three arched bays which housed the ranges can still be seen.
As for treatment for the patients, 1870 seems to be the first mention of any specific medicinal treatment, other than opium, which was used freely for melancholia in does of one to three grains, for mental illness.
The newly introudced Chloral Hydrate was tried as a sedative and Ammonium Bromide, for epilepsy, to be supplanted by Potassium Bromide, in 1875.
Other new drugs given a trial included Indian help (Cannabis indica), nux vomica, croton-chloral (Butyl-chloral hydrate) and amyl nitrate, in 1876, calabar bean (Physotigmine bean) was introduced for general paralysis of the insane, a then very common disorder.
The 1970s saw a change of views on the subject of restraint, previously regarded with pious horror, and its occasional use in the form of strait waistcoats and locked gloves were felt desirable in determinedly suicidal cases. It was still usual for cases to be brought to the hospital in chains, strait jackets or handcuffs whether necessary or not.
A galvanic electric apparatus was ordered in 1872.
Chloroform was used for the first time, for the amputation of a stoker’s finger, in 1868, a drachm being administered. Unfortunately he died immediately after the operation “from an epileptic fit”, autospy showing “diseased matter known as Tubercle and fatty degeneration of the heart and liver.”
A large scale vaccination was carried out of nearly all the 680 patients in 1871, Mr. Wallis, Surgeon of Brentwood “affording an ample supply of lympth from children.” (Vaccination of children had been compulsory since 1855.)
As for the staff, a second, Assistant Medical Officer, was appointed from 1871 and in the same year a night nurse for the suidical ward.
An inspector (Male Matron in charge of male Attendants) was appointed in 1870 when the establishment of Attendants was 26 male and 30 female.
Wages had been increased in 1872 “in consideration of the great expense of living, it being impossible to find accommodation in Brentwood at less than 5/- a wekk.” A £2 per annum increase was made.
Trouble was still being experienced in attracting the right kind of person to be attendants and inefficiency, absence, cruelty and drunkenness were still problems, albeit rigorously dealt with when encountered. Discipline contined to be strict and the Minutes of September 1867 contain the rather cryptic entry :-
“…. Nurse (sic), guitly of unbecoming conduct in receiving letters also of changing her dress on going to London, is allowed to resign, but to leave tomorrow.” Also; “…. Nurse, having in like manner received letters” (presumably about a patient?) “and conversed with persons beyond the walls is allowed to resign.”
Jumping forward to the year, 1881, Queen Victoria was on the throne. William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) was prime minister and it was the 22nd parliament.
The Sunday Closing (Wales) Act prohibited the sale of alcohol in Wales on a Sunday. This was the first act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Great Britain or England since the 1542 Act of Union between England and Wales whose application is restricted to Wales.
The New Testament in the Revised Version of The Bible was published.
The Essex lunatic asylum and it’s auxiliaries, annual report were issued. The goal number of patients under treatment in the course of the year were 1,116. Of these 117 were discharged recovered, 15 improved and 19 unimproved while 85 died.
The inquest on the bodies of a lady called Anne Humphies and her child who were found dead, with their throats cut, was held. The inquest from the Ann’s family had suffered with insanity for two generations and that her mother was a patient at Brentwood Lunatic Asylum aka Essex Lunatic Asylum.
The jury found without hesitation, the Ann Humphries killed her infant and then committed suicide while in an unsound state of mind.
And on Sunday the 3rd of April 1881, the census was taken, it shows Elizabeth still working and residing at, Essex Co Lunatic Asylum, South Weald, Billericay, Essex, England.
Elizabeth was still the Matron.
I wonder if she had met and dealt with the mother of Ann Humphries who is mentioned above?
The next 10 years were notable for the large building programme at the asylum, due to needing to enlarge of the Asylum by another 450 beds. Three possible sites were considered, between the Main Buildings and the road, on the site of the laundry drying ground and south of it, and that finally chosen betwen the Main Block and Brentwood Hall.
The building was delayed owing to the usual difficulty over water, the Waterworks Company charging “a very high price”. A tender was finally accepted for £64,000 in 1886 and the block opened for Male patients, F Block, in 1888.
It was decided not to install electric light in the new block on account of the expenses. The Committee was also advised that “they could not depend on the light going out unexpectedly.”
Gas was therefore installed and the proposal to build a gas works in the estate was only abandoned when the Gas Company, force majeure, reduced its prices.
The plan of the wards tended to return to the older style of the original block with long galleries, though somewhat wider, with the associated dormitories and single rooms opening off them.
Due to the greatly increased number of patients, the old Chapel had long been too small and, owing to its situation, very difficult and costly to enlarge. A new Chapel was proposed at a cost of £4,375 and completed in 1889 and was dedicated to the Bishop of St. Albans. The old Chapel was, two years later, converted into a dormitory, having in the meanwhile been used as a library.
On the opening of F Block, all the male patients were moved there and the Main Building given over wholly to females. Admissions were once more unrestricted and the 250 patients boarded out in other asylums bought back.
Improvements continued in the older buildings; D block having insufficient lavatories, small sanitary wings were added north of East and West Wings in 1889.
In the old block, two new padded rooms were built at a cost of £43 each, the W.C.’s in all wards which still never had more than two “seats” per ward, were cut off from the ward with glass screeens and a system of air ducts installed to improve the ventilation. The old and rat-damaged brick sewers that ran under the main building wards were replaced by iron pipes from 1885.
In the wards, a great many of the original wooden box-beds were still in use, but were gradually replaced by iron beds.
As for the patients, the number of patients rose from 904 in 1880 to 1999 in 1899 of whom 173 were in the Annexes and 61 boarded out. There were still a very large number of General Paralytics, 32 being admitted in 1889.
This period was also characteristed by a number of severe epidemics; typhoid broke out in 1884 and 1889 and was attributed to sewer gas leaking from the old drains; the Senior Assistant Medical Officer himself became infected, thought to be due to his having performed an autospy.
An operation for a strangulated hernia was performed in 1884, but the patient died five days later due to peritonitis.
Experiments were carried out with the use of coloured glass in the windows of certain single rooms, violet coloured for excited cases and rose coloured for melancholics.
Beer as an article of diet was gradually given up on the grounds that it was too weak to be a stimulent and that, as so many of the mental illnesses were considered due to alcohol (a very large number came in with delirium tremens), if the patients learned that it was possible to live without it in hospital, they might do so on leaving.
The withdrawl was gradual, from 1882, only working patients of both sexes were given ½ pint at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m;
As for the staff, Dr. Campbell, the Medical Superintendent from 1853, died in office in August 1888 and was succeeded by the Senior Assistant, Dr. Amsden.
A third assistant was appointed in 1887 and the next year a Dispenser-Secretary was appointed, the second Assistant Medical Officer having previously acted as dispenser.
In 1890, some form of training for the attendants was felt to be desirable and a skeleton was hired for lectures “from time to time”.
By 1889 there were 84 male and 116 female attendants and two Head Attendants on each side in addition to the Matron, Sub-Matron and Inspector.
Their hours of duty were long, 14 hours a day with one day off every 23 days. Following complaints in the local press, it was found possible to get one day off every 14 days and, it was reported after an inquiry, that the “pay and conditions compared well with other asylums”. There was no Annual Leave.
The first floor was not seen by the public, and used exclusively by asylum staff, it was considerably plainer. This corridor lead along the back of the Administration Block and gave access to all the rooms at the front; it’s assumed these were living quarters for the asylum’s administration and head nursing staff.
In 1900 a Nurses’ Home was built so that nurses would no longer have to sleep on the wards.
Jumping forward 10 years to the year 1891, Queen Victoria was on the throne, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative) was prime minister and it was the 24th parliament. Baptist Union of Great Britain was established by merger of the General and Particular Baptists. Rachel Beer took over the editorship of The Observer, she was the first woman to edit a national newspaper.
Dr. George Amsden, M.B. the able superintendent of the Essex County Lunatic Asylum married Miss Annie Vereker, of Wellington Place, Dublin. The staff as the Ayslum gifted them a beautifully chased silver dessert service. This bears the inscription –
“Presented to George Amsden, Esq, M.B., on his marriage, 4th April 1891, by the officers and staff at the Essex County Lunatic Asylum.”
In honour of the occasion, the patients at the asylum were regaled with a substantial dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, supplemented by cakes and oranges. They had a dance in the evening.
A suicidal maniac, incarcerated in Brentwood County Lunatic Asylum, killed himself by cutting his throat with a razor.
And on Sunday the 5th of April 1891, the census was taken. It shows Elizabeth still living and working at, Essex Co Lunatic Asylum, So Weald N Brentwood, South Weald, Billericay, Essex, England. Elizabeth was still the Matron.
On the 26 February 1892, the Essex County Lunatic Asylum, Brentwood put an advertisement in the Chelmsford Chronicle newspaper, for a new matron. Sarah and I think, Elizabeth, possibly retired around this time.
And on the 9th April 1892, Elizabeth was mentioned in the Stratford Express Newspaper.
More improvements happened at the Asylum, with 2 complete new wings, East East Wing and Infirmary Wing, being added in 1897 for 100 patients.
In 1892, alcohol was withdrawn altogether “will no ill effects”.
There was in fact a report that more work was done by the patients who had previously tended to blackmail the staff on the basis of “more beer or no more work” but, to quote Dr. Amsden the Superintendent “no one seems to ask for more tea”.
The staff were given a monetary allowance in lieu and were reported to be “greatly contented”. Reading between the lines, one senses that this withdrawal was carried out with some trepidation as to whether it might have provoked a riot, and there is a sense of relife to be read into the reports of its success.
The brewery was converted into a laboratory and mortuary.
In 1894 there were 37 cases of Smallpox amonst the patients, of whom 13 died, and 5 amongst the staff, all of whom recovered. The next year saw a large outbreak of Diphtheria, 33 “true” cases being confirmed by bacteriological methods and 80 suspect sore throats. The outbreak was treated with antitoxin serum and sulphurous acid to the throat. As the Isolation Hospital had not then been completed, two “Iron (Corrugated) Buildings” were erected as temporary isolation wards. There were small epidemics of Influenza and Diphtheria in 1897 and 1898.
In 1896 it was commented that 38% of the admissions were metnally defective and the need was felt of a separate “Asylum for Idiots”. Children were commonly and quite indiscriminately mixed with adults in the wards.
Difficulties were encountered in getting the workhouses to accept senile patients no longer needing asylum treatment so that the wards were unncessarily full, a problem that still exists. Where the workhouses did not accept them, there were more often than not sent back to the asylum after a short time.
On Thursday the 26th of August 1899, life for Elizabeth and her family, would change beyond recognition, when, Elizabeth’s Stepfather, George Barry Moody, of Butlers Wood, Lockerley, passed away, at Butler’s Wood, Awbridge, Lockerley, Romsey, Hampshire, England, aged 81.
He died from Senile Decay.
Elizabeth, was present and registered his death on the same day as George’s death, Thursday the 26th of August, 1899 in Romsey.
Georges occupation was given as a Farmer.
Elizabeth and her family laid, George Barry Moody to rest at, All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Hampshire, England, on the 29th August 1899. He was the 90th burial.
After the heartache of loosing George, I’m sure Elizabeth and her family loss came flooding back when they heard the news that, Queen Victoria had died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, on 22 January 1901. She is 81 years old and has served as monarch for nearly 64 years – longer than any other British monarch in history up to that date. Her eldest son, The Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales becomes King, reigning as Edward VII.
The news of Queen Victorias death, did not reach Romsey till late in the evening when a railway guard at Romsey Station shouted the news “She’s Gone” from a passing train.
Romsey and the surrounding villages gathered outside the Townhall in Romsey, for the The Proclamation of King Edward VII on Wednesday 23rd January 1901
The funeral of Queen Victoria took place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 2nd February 1901.
Other events to happen in the year 1901 were, the sale of Yew Tree Farm, which was advertised on the 29 June 1901, in the Hampshire Independent Newspaper.
The significance of this will come to light later on.
Lockerley celebrated Victoria Day by inaugurating a squad of volunteers, which would have been attached to the corps at Romsey.
And more importantly to us, on Sunday the 31st March 1901, the census was taken which shows, Elizabeth was now back with her Mum, Elizabeth and her Sister Jane Berry Moody.
They were residing at, Kent’s Oak, Awbridge, Michelmersh, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Elizabeth was a retired lunatic asylum matron and Jane was a retired mental nurse.
Had Elizabeth retired to look after her Mum or had see witnesses enough pain or horrors at the asylum.
On Wednesday the 4th of June, 1902, Elizabeth and her family, went into mourning, when Elizabeth’s Mum, Elizabeth Moody nee Hillier nee Grist, died, at Awbridge, Romsey, Hampshire, England, at the grand age of 91 years.
Elizabeth died from, General Decay.
Elizabeth, was present and registered her death on the 5th of June 1902.
Elizabeth, the Hilliers and the Moodys, laid Elizabeth, to rest on the 9th June, 1902, at, All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Romsey, Hampshire, England. Elizabeth was buried with her second husband, George Barry Moody.
Once again, jumping forward to the year 1911, George V was on the throne, H. H. Asquith (Liberal) was Prime Minister and it was the 30th Parliament.
Eleven thousand workers at the Singer Manufacturing Co. sewing machine factory on Clydebank in Scotland went on strike in solidarity with twelve female colleagues protesting against work process reorganisation. Four hundred alleged ringleaders were dismissed.
Liverpool general transport strike begun.
A serious and alarming accident happened at the Test Paper Mill.
Romsey and Lockerley celebrated Coronation Day.
And the 1911 census was taken. One out of every seven employed persons is a domestic servant. Suffragette Emily Davison hides in a cupboard in the crypt of the Palace of Westminster so that she can legitimately be recorded as resident on census night at the House of Commons; several thousand women evade being recorded in the census as a protest against the lack of women’s suffrage.
The Census shows that Elizabeth was visiting the home of Alfred Frederick Williams and his wife Mary Ann Williams, at 123 Woodbridge Road Ipswich, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. She gave her occupation as Matron formerly of Brentwood Asylum.
Just a day later on Monday the 3rd of April, 1911, at Old Salisbury Lane, Awbridge, Romsey, Hampshire, England, Elizabeth’s Brother, Walter Hillier, a General Labourer, died from, Acute Bronchitis (10 days), when he was 73 years old.
Thomas Moody, Elizabeth and Walters, brother, was present and registered his death on the 4th of April 1911, in Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Walter was laid to rest in All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Hampshire, England, on the 8th April 1911. Walter was burial number 139.
Walter was laid to rest in the south section of the cemetery.
Sadly the grim reaper was still lurking by the door, and on Friday the 13th of November, 1914, Elizabeth brother, Henry Hillier, a General Labourer, died at the age of 72 at The Poor Law Infirmary, Romsey Hampshire, England.
He died from Arthritis Sclerosis and Cerebral Hemorrhage.
Mary Hillier nee Bailey, Henry’s wife, registered his death on Saturday, the 14th of November, 1914, at Romsey, Hampshire.
Henry was laid to rest at All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Hampshire, on Tuesday, the 17th of November 1914.
And two short years later, her brother William Hillier, a Bootmaker, aged 79, sadly died, on Friday, the 3rd of March, 1916, at the Workhouse Infirmary, Chichester, Sussex.
William died from Senile Decay.
The Master of the workhouse, R.G. Willcocks, registered his death on Saturday, the 4th of March, 1916.
Jumping forward again, to the year 1921, George V was on the throne, David Lloyd George (Coalition)was Prime Minister.
Queen Mary became the first woman to be awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford.
Unemployment stood at 1,640,600.
The first recorded public performance of the illusion of “sawing a woman in half” was given by stage magician P. T. Selbit at the Finsbury Park Empire variety theatre in London.
Winston Churchillwas appointed as Colonial Secretary. Lockout of striking coal miners began and Coal rationing began two days later.
Troops were sent to restore order after rioting breaks out in East Belfast.
Rainfall ends a drought which had lasted for one hundred days. It was the driest year on record since 1788.
A church parade took place in Lockerley, where the Lockerley and Broughton Brass Bands united and under Mr. Edwin Moody (our relation), they played splendidly.
Walter Southwell of Lockerley, (my 2nd cousin 5x removed) son in-law of James Moody, was fined 15s for having no lights on his cart.
On Friday the 15th of July, 1921, the Hampshire Independent Newspaper, advertised a fate being held to raise money for a new village hall at Awbridge, Hampshire.
Frederick Bertram Cattle formerly a chief clark in the county accountancy office of the Wiltshire county council at Trowbridge was sent to prison for embezzlement of monies belonging to the County Council.
He served 4 months.
And On Sunday, the 19th of June, 1921, the census was taken. It shows, Elizabeth was residing at, The Bungalow, Awbridge, Michelmersh, Hampshire, England, with her sister, Jane Ann Barry Moody.
They were living in a 6 room dwelling and had two other ladies residing with them, Elsie Carroll Schilling and Elsie Harvey, their house keeper.
Over the next 10 years, Elizabeth heartbreakingly lost 3 of her brothers.
Thomas Moody aka George Moody, a retired Prison Warden, sadly passed away on Thursday, the 30th of March, 1922, at his home, Damens Cottage, Old Salisbury Lane, Awbridge, Hampshire, England, aged 75 years.
He died from, Cardiac Vascular Disease (20 years).
No post-mortem was needed.
His widow Susan Moody, was present and registered his death on Thursday the 30th of March, 1922, in Romsey.
Thomas was laid to rest on Tuesday, the 4th of April, 1922, in the south section of All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Hampshire.
He was the 199 burial.
4 short years later, on Thursday, the 25th of March 1926, Elizabeth’s brother, Luther Barry Moody, a Railway pensioner, aged 78, died at his home, 218 Foundry Lane, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Luther died from Influenza (4 days) and Heart Failure.
No post-mortem was needed.
Luther’s son, Alfred Moody, of Number 32, St Mary’s Road, Southampton, registered his death on Thursday the 25th March 1926, in Southampton.
Luther was laid to rest at the, Southampton Old Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, on Monday the 29th of March, 1926, in Row P, Block 131, Number 136.
He was buried with his 5 year old Daughter, Elizabeth Barry Moody aka Bessie and later his wife Annie Elizabeth and their Son, George Barry Moody were buried with them.
I knew Luther wasn’t buried at All Saints Church Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, so I sent my dear friend Bruce, a message and, as normal he came up trumps. Not only did he locate Luther’s resting place, he visited it and cleaned up the headstone. What a lovely thing to do.
I can not thank him enough for all the help and time he dedicates to helping me and others. A true gentlemen.
Luther’s probate was granted on the 1st June 1926, it’s reads,
Moody Luther Barry of 218 Foundry-Lane Southampton died 25 March 1926probate London 1 June to, Annie Elizabeth Moody widow Thomas Moody, boilermaker and Alfred Moody carpenter. Effects of £1,488 8s. 1d.
I have purchased a copy of his will but I will share this at a later date.
Sadly more death followed when Elizabeths Brother, David Barry Moody, a smallholder, died on Sunday, the 17th of January, 1932, at the Bungalow, Awbridge, Hampshire, England, when he was 76 years old.
David died from, Carcinoma of the Stomach (Gyloric).
G Hillier (Walter George Hillier), his Nephew, of Yew Tree Farm, Awbridge, registered his death on Monday, the 18th of January, 1932, in Romsey, Hampshire, England.
David was laid to rest on the 21st January 1932, in All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Hampshire.
He was buried in the same section of the churchyard as his Mum and other family members.
David’s probate was granted on Tuesday, the 12th of April, 1932, in London, it reads
Moody David of The Bungalow Awbridge near Romsey Hampshire died 17 January 1932 Probate London 12 April to Walter George Hillier farmer.. Effects £107 2s. 7d.
I have purchased a copy of his will but I will share this at a later date.
Sadly death caught up with all of us at some point and sadly Elizabeth life also came to an end just over a month later.
Elizabeth died on Monday, the 22nd of February, 1932, at her nephew, Walter George Hilliers home, Yew Tree Farm, Awbridge, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Elizabeth died from Acute Bronchitis and Vascular Disease Of The Heart (Initial).
Her nephew Walter George Hillier, of Yew Tree Farm, Awbridge was present and registered her death on Wednesday the 24th of February 1932.
It is believed that a few days before her death she was carried from her home, The Bungalow, which is now known as Rosemary Croft, to Walters home, Yew Tree Farm.
Elizabeth was laid to rest in, All Saints Churchyard, All Saints Church, Awbridge, Romsey, Hampshire, England, on Friday, the 26th of February, 1932. She was the 247 burial at the church.
She was buried next to her Brother, David Barry Moody.
Elizabeth was laid to rest in the south section of the cemetery with many of her relatives.
Rest In Peace,
Thank you for your service.
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