Restraint or warming suit from an asylum, 1890-1948
It is possible this full body suit was used like a straitjacket. It may have restrained violent or suicidal patients in a psychiatric hospital. However, there are no visible means of restraining the patient such as belts or buckles. The suit was worn like a pair of overalls, with brass eyelets up the front. This would have made it hard to force a patient into it. The suit is also extremely large and made of a heavy, thick material. It is more feasible it was a warming suit for patients in the asylum’s infirmary. The suit comes from Brighton County Borough Asylum, formerly Sussex Lunatic Asylum. It dates from between 1890 and 1948. This was before the first drug treatments became available.
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Glossary: psychiatric hospital
Psychiatric hospital specialising in the treatment of serious mental illness, usually for relatively long-term patients.
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: restraint suit
Glossary: warming suit