Out of sound, out of mind: noise control in early nineteenth-century lunatic asylums in England and Ireland

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Fennelly, K.L. (2014)
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

This article examines the rhetoric and design principles invested in public lunatic asylum architecture in the early nineteenth century. Using case studies from England and Ireland, this article will focus on the creation of a sensory environment conducive to the reform of these institutions, and how this was applied – intentionally or otherwise – in the built environment. Objections to door locks and the noise made by footsteps testify to the weight placed on the importance of the patient’s sensory well-being. It will be argued these initial features of sound control were bound up in a paternalistic, yet moral, approach to insanity and reform, with varying degrees of success.
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