A little over ten years ago, a decision was made to publish a journal about the Sillifant surname (my one-name study) and its variant and deviant spellings. This was quite a momentous decision as I was pretty worried about publishing our research just in case our conclusions weren’t right! Encouraged by my ‘overseas Sillifant correspondent’ Beryl Young (then living in New Zealand, now in Brisbane), we embarked on our journey of producing three journals a year – cunningly planned to coincide with the school holidays (Christmas, Easter and Summer) which are now utterly irrelevant in my life – and thirty volumes later, we are still writing! We have made some exciting research discoveries along the way and readers have shared their stories, photographs and documents with the other Simply Sillifant? subscribers. A few times, we have written about conclusions which turned out to be challenged and our trees amended, but if we hadn’t written the articles in the first place, we would not have known what we know now!
Returning to what has developed into this week’s theme – Internet Sites for Local Historians: a directory – reminds me of this problem and an issue when publishing anything which includes internet sites. The web address change…. County Asylums leapt off page 17 and I put in the URL, only to discover that it wasn’t there anymore. Not to be put off, I searched for the topic in Google (other search engines are available!) and located the site in its new venue – well, at least I assume it’s the same site as I never saw the originally listed one.
Providing an index of English and Welsh Lunatic Asylums and Mental Hospitals, based on a comprehensive survey in 1844 as well as extending to other asylums, the website is a Middlesex University resource by Andrew Roberts. The asylums are listed along the right of the website alphabetically and some asylums outside England and Wales are included in blue.
The 1844 Lunacy Report makes very interesting reading and includes the different classes of asylums, their construction, condition, management and visitation, restraint, admission and liberation of patients and much more.
So, on the next update of the Internet Sites for Local Historians: a directory, one to add!