they should be so lucky


The gimcrack is a very modern asylum, but still the patients whine and snivel about the lack of amenities like roulette tables and sherry before dinner. The next time one of our ingrates complains about the three-ply toilet tissue being too scratchy for their delicate arse I’m going to tell them about Haydock Lodge

“The register of patient deaths said that 18 had died of exhaustion, 20 of diarrhoea, 13 from general debility, 12 of epilepsy and 17 of apoplexy.

The commissioners said that the diet “was as liberal as most, and more liberal than many” of those in pauper private houses.

However, there was a uniform deficiency in the amount of milk used in the “rice milk”. Fourteen, out of the forty-six quarts that should have been used, was made up of water.

houdini in a milk can

The evidence proved  that the dinners were occasionally ill-cooked and unpalatable, that the potatoes were for a time indifferent, but no fault was ever found with the bread or the beer.

It appears to be now generally allowed that the insane require a liberal and nutritious diet. Meals containing large quantities of peas and other flatulent vegetables are seldom adapted to the wants of the insane.


The wonderfully named Lunacy Commission was sent in to investigate. They found the kitchen to “extremely dirty, wholly insufficient in size and staffed by slovenly persons.”

hepatic douche

As the majority of the inmates were Welsh, the management were obliged to engage Welsh speaking staff. Again, the Lunacy Commission was distressed to find that the “two respectable Welsh women were dismissed in September because one of the two (whose respectability was very much in question) stayed out until midnight, without leave, with one of the male attendants.”

wayward nurse

Published in: on July 2, 2009 at 8:37 am  Comments (36)  

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Gotta love the pointed bras they used to wear “in the day”
    I worked at a mental hospital once, what a trip. Locking myself on the ward with the crazies day after day.

  2. Tell your patients to try spending 40+ hours a week sitting in an office cubicle under a harsh florescent light breathing manufactured air. Buncha whining crazies.

  3. Sorry, I missed that …… what’s for supper?

  4. met an indifferent potato once… he just wasn’t that in to me…

    • Idiot! Who wouldn’t be into you darlin?

      • maybe an irish potato 🙂

  5. I bet its th flatulent vegetables that complain th loudest.

  6. I think that I could survive on beer and bread. But all of those fatulent veggies would get to me. They say atht beans are the musical fruits, the more you eat the more you toot!!

    • fatulent is funny. was that deliberate or a typo?

      • I try and stay away from Fatulent veggies cause they are what all the people on diet are eating. Just think of all the hungry bunnies out there.

  7. No sherry before dinner? What kind of hell hole are you running?

    • No lawn croquet either. That’s because we have no lawn…..

    • In a place like that you want a slug of redeye whisky.

      • yes, most definitely spike their juice! they’ll party like rock stars with the amount of meds they are probably taking..if you really want some peace, giv em something to smoke too- that should mellow em out. be sure to have lots of cheetos on hand for the side effects though.

  8. “no fault was ever found with the bread or the beer.”
    Case Closed.
    BTW myra, is that you modeling on “The Wayward Nurse” cover–the shape is oddly familiar.

    • I’ve never been blonde 🙂

  9. If the Lunacy Commission ever comes to my kitchen, it is SO over. Because I absolutely have Ll 3 of those issues going on.

  10. bedlam,pure bedlam.

  11. Sorry, I meant “all”, not Ll. Damn these enormous thumbs.

  12. The “lunacy commission” is quite the name.

    They certainly didn’t pull any punches “back in the day.” There was a very large institution in Southern Ontario (Canada) that recently closed. When it first opened it was called the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots.”

    • I spent six months there and always resented its political incorrect name. It was a sanitarium – not an asylum. And we were freaks – not idiots.

      • yeah freaks rule!

    • That sounds very much like a place I knew.

      One unfortunate summer I had the gross misfortune to find myself nursing at the local loonie bin (Lunatic Asylum) which was affectionately referred to as “ The Calming Homes of Serenity, for the Terminally Bewildered”.

      I worked a 12 hour shift in that god-forsaken place and one of the last duties of the evening I had to perform, was removing the patients’ false teeth/dentures before they went to sleep and put them into a large wooden tray. There were about 80 patients on my ward; all classified “criminally insane” and nearly all had dentures.

      One night, after a particularly gruelling day, I accidently mixed up ALL the patients dentures, so much so that when the Matron did her rounds the next day, she didn’t recognise ANY of the poor patients, because they all had the wrong teeth.

      Fortunately, (for me and the inmates), I was fired after that.

      • Hi Lily, welcome to the Gimcrack! I’ve seen your comments over at Donald’s place. do you have a blog also?

  13. I really hate indifferent potatoes.

  14. There is nothing better than sharing the after effects of a good wholesome flatulent vegetable with friends.

    What?… Like you don’t do it!

  15. I’d like some Sherry before dinner too. The wifey-poo…she said “Fat chance…you’re married!”. I’ll confess…Sherry was pretty hot; but so is the wifey-poo so I’m good with it.

  16. Indifferent potatoes that when they can’t be arsed if they are chipped, boiled or roasted???

  17. I am currently a board member on our local “Lunacy Commission.” We’re going God’s work I tell ya.

  18. As the self-appointed Chairman of the Lunacy Commission, I have prepared this statement: Apricots. That is all.

  19. On a blogging break but had a moment to stop by at the world famous gimcrack. Sorry for the losses. Please send the Lunacy commission for me. 🙂

  20. nursem–

    Several years ago my mother-in-law (Hannah)was in a small hospice, recovering from a series of strokes. I met a retired crippled and blind veteran (Thomas).

    Hospice rules forbade liquor, and Hannah started a rebellion. Hannah demanded wine with her meal. Thomas piped in and said he wanted a beer. Other folks in the hospice chimed in.

    The hospice staff said that alcohol was not allowed. Thomas said, “Well then, goddammit, I want a joint!”

    Hannah passed on, but I smuggled a small carafe of tequila to Thomas, told him it was a gift from Hannah. He was very appreciative.

    I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t sneak in more…

  21. We have to keep an eye on how much a patient drinks as old people are so prone to losing their balance and falling over, then they break their hips or shit themselves and it’s one big mess…..

    That said, I’m all in favour of them getting one glass of wine with their dinner though sadly the Gimcrack’s budget only runs to Happy Hour once a month.

    We do have a pub up the road that delivers to patients who can still use a telephone 🙂

    • Thank you nursemyra for the welcome. Unfortunately I am blogless.

      To be honest, it’s a technological marvel that I found your blog (and hence Donald’s) in the first place, let alone leave a comment.

      All the best,

      Lily Fossil

      • Ah well, maybe one day…..

  22. Having worked with a few lunatics (and not all of them were patients) in my time, the people who can do it for long years have my admiration. I might suggest that the potatoes in 1846 were “indifferent” due to to the potato blight that caused the Irish famine starting in that year.

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