Staffordshire Asylums - Patient Database, 1818-1920 Goes Live

Staffordshire Asylums - Patient Database, 1818-1920 Goes Live

Staffordshire Asylums - Patient Database, 1818-1920

This fasinating index is now live to search on the Staffordshire Name Indexes website, which is brought to you by Staffordshire & Stoke On Trent Archive Service


The early 19th century saw intense debate about how the problem of pauper lunacy should be addressed. At this time, costly private asylums and pauper workhouses offered the only alternative to treating the mentally ill at home. This problem was exacerbated by the long-term detention of criminal lunatics in County gaols.

The 1808 County Asylums Act (Wynn’s Act) enabled counties to raise funds for asylums. The Lunacy Act of 1845 extended this legislation, making it mandatory for counties to provide for the care of the mentally ill. As a result of this legislation, 3 county asylums were established in Staffordshire before the end of the 19th century.

About this Index

This index includes patients at the hospitals in the period 1818-1920 only since medical records less than 100 years are not normally available for consultation by the general public.

Please be aware that hospital records can be distressing and that terms used to refer to people with mental health problems are historic and reflect the attitudes and language of the period. These terms might now be considered derogatory, or offensive.

A successful search of the index can provide you with some or all of the following information:

  • Surname
  • Forename(s)
  • Occupation – This refers to occupation recorded on admission
  • Union of Residence – Poor Law Union. To view Staffordshire parishes/places within a Union, please see the link below. Where abode was given rather than Union, this has been marked with an asterisk, e.g. Leigh*, Albrighton*
  • Institution – This field includes the 3 county asylums: Stafford Asylum, Burntwood Asylum, Cheddleton Asylum.
  • Year of Admission, Discharge, Death - You may only find a date of admission or death or discharge as there are gaps in the records or because the dates are in other documents that were not consulted for the index. You may get multiple dates if a patient was readmitted
  • Diagnosis - This is the diagnosis recorded on admission
  • Additional Items - This field records items that may be included in the case book, such as a photograph, notice of death, or newspaper cutting.
  • Continuing Notes – This may include a reference to the previous case book, or any following case book in which a patient’s treatment is recorded.
  • Repository - This is the repository where documents can be viewed.
  • Document Ref - This may be the reference number of a register or case book. There may be more than one document referenced for a patient, depending on whether entries were made from more than one case book or register.
  • Page Number - Page numbers only apply to case book references.
  • Record Title – This is the title of the document, for example, “Admissions Register”, “Female Patients Case Book”.

Link to the website for more information and how you can track now the records themselves 👉