The Lunatic Asylum at Fort George, about 1880
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May 8, 2021

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The Lunatic Asylum at Fort George, about 1880

The lunatics were removed in 1870 from their old quarters to Fort George, as it was thought that the fresh sea breezes that nearly always prevail there would have a very beneficial effect on them, especially as they would not require to be under such close supervision.

One or two of the lunatics, however, took advantage of this, and succeeded in walking across to the mainland from the island, which is only about 400 yards from the town.

The new lunatic asylum was completed and occupied at the end of the year 1878. It is a creditable building, well suited to the climate and to the wants of the inmates, who are, or, at all events, a large majority of them, probably more comfortably provided for than they have ever previously been. The buildings which they formerly occupied were utterly unsuited for the purpose, and it was impossible to attempt anything in the shape of discipline of employment. The conduct of the lunatics since their removal to the new quarters has been greatly improved, and they are, with few exceptions, employed in the useful work. Washing, gardening, mat and basket making are now common industries among them, and games various amusements have been introduced.

There is nothing now in this establishment that is not creditable to all persons concerned.

A bath-house and kraal, erected in the sea in front of the buildings, are most useful adjustment in the treatment of the insane, and the greatest pleasure is taken by the inmates in using them. It is astonishing the amount of work they get through. The conversion of the swampy and barren grounds of both hospital and asylum into their present condition has been entirely the work of patients. Gardening and most of the other hard work are done by the men in the cool of the morning and evening.

The asylum has accommodation for the 30 patients. The number of inmates is 22. Four patients were admitted during the year 1887, and there was one death….”

Source: The Handbook of British Honduras 1888-1889

Photograph courtesy Regent Albert

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