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Replica of a nineteenth century restraint collar, England, c. 1930

The original restraint collar was found in the 1930s. It was discovered in a chest in the cellar of the Hanwell Asylum in Middlesex. Henry Wellcome had this replica made to add to his vast collection. The collar surprisingly demonstrates care for the patient. This suggests it dates from the early 1800s rather than from an earlier period. It has a wide ‘Elizabethan’ style brim. If used with manacles for the arms and legs, this prevented a patient tearing at himself or herself with his or her teeth. The copy is made of heavy leather with metal buckles. The leather is heavily scuffed. Either this is a highly accurate replica or it was exhibited in Wellcome’s museum on a manikin together with a set of chains and manacles. The marks indicate the collar shielded the patient’s neck from being chafed or cut by the iron restraint chains. It also suggests the chains were for long-term rather than short-term restraint. John Connelly, who became resident physician at Hanwell in 1839, famously established a policy of complete non-restraint of patients. The survival of this collar suggests his policy did not match reality. However, the asylum may have kept it as a grim memento of the bad old days.

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Glossary: psychiatric hospital

Psychiatric hospital specialising in the treatment of serious mental illness, usually for relatively long-term patients.

Glossary: asylum

A historic term for a psychiatric hospital. The term in this context was common in the 1700s and 1800s, but is no longer in use.

Glossary: reproduction

Copies of art images, art objects, or other valued images or objects, made without intent to deceive; with regard to art images, includes photographic reproductions; implies more precise and faithful imitation than does the term "copies (derivative objects)." Where the intent is to deceive, see "forgeries" or "counterfeits."

Glossary: restraint collar

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