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Device for recording warder patrols in a Lunatic Asylum, London, England, 1864-1897

Used at Sussex Lunatic Asylum in the late 1800s, this portable register was used by warders to record their patrols around the institution. Warders had a key to log their patrol. The presence of the register within the asylum indicates the ‘inmates’ experienced a strict regime of surveillance and security. These were crucial to asylum life when moral treatment emerged in the early 1800s. The device was made by E. Dent and Company in London. They manufactured high quality timepieces. They also produced the chronometers that accompanied Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle in 1831 and David Livingstone on his African explorations.

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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: time register

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