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a tale of Restoration intrigue by

Molly Brown


A system of Royal Hospitals for London had been established in Tudor times: St Bartholomew's for the sick, St Thomas's for the permanently infirm, Christ's for the support and education of poor children, Bridewell for vagabonds and the unemployed, and Mary of Bethlehem (Bedlam) for the insane.

By the 17th century, Bedlam was one of London's main tourist attractions. On Sundays, the public was admitted on payment of a penny (it was later raised to twopence) to watch the antics of the people confined there. It was considered one of the wonders of London and was a must for foreign visitors. It remained open to the public until the late 18th century, when visiting first became restricted to only "well-dressed" ticket holders, then finally to relatives.

Pepys's Diary, 19 February 1669:

Ned Ward, A Visit to Bedlam:

london bridge south deptford start of tour home

(c) 1996 Molly Brown