Monday 15 January 2018

Secret Lives. Hidden Voices of Our Ancestors

Absolutely delighted to have been selected to deliver Early Asylum Life in the Words of Those Who Were There at Secret Lives. Hidden Voices of Our Ancestors 31st August to 2nd September this year. It feels very special to be given a national platform to tell more folk about the real people whose voices have been hidden in the archives of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, in this, the bicentenary of the opening of that famous Wakefield institution back in 1818.

I’ve just booked my place for the full three days of Secret Lives and just as well I did as tickets seem to be selling fast. What an impressive line-up of speakers including two authors who clearly share my enthusiasm for the amazingly rich content found among the early lunatic asylum records.

Fellow Strathclyde alumni Kathryn Burtinshaw, who with Dr John Burt published Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots: A History of Insanity in Nineteenth Century Britain and Ireland in 2017, will be covering Incarceration: Voices of the "insane" in nineteenth century Britain on the Sunday.

Sarah Wise whose best selling 2012 book Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England gives two talks on the Friday and I’m particularly hoping to hear Ancestors in the 19th Century Private Lunatic Asylum.

The organisers have been teasing us with the conference content and have yet to announce all the speakers so it looks like there will be yet more surprises to come.

Hope to see many of you at Secret Lives in Hinckley in September.