View Full Version : Spare a thought for

Olde Crone
28-08-09, 23:45
Poor Mary Jepson!

In 1851 she is a lunatic
In 1861 she is Idiotic
In 1871 she is an imbecile
In 1881 she is an Idiot From Birth.

She died in 1882, probably so they could make up no more rude descriptions of her condition.

(Actually, in 1871, the enumerator has put "tailoress and dressmaker", then crossed it out and written imbecile instead!)


28-08-09, 23:49
poor girl OC thats really sad isnt it ?? I often get upset when I read things like that or if they are blind .
going now night night

28-08-09, 23:54
It bothers me a bit, too.

I found my great great grandfather in an asylum described as a lunatic and when I investigated further discovered he suffered from epilepsy and died in there from a fit. He was allowed out in the daytime to go to work, I believe.

My great great grandmother was in lodgings with my great granfather near the asylum

No hospitals in those days.

Olde Crone
29-08-09, 00:11
She was cared for by her mother, then by her youngest married sister after the mother's death.

She was in her late 60s when she died, (at home) so must have been reasonably well cared for.

But it does show that the Victorian definitions for some mental afflictions were not the precise ones we are led to believe, unless it was the enumerator's description, not the family description.


29-08-09, 02:57
I wish the descriptions were for everybody.

My lot would have.....

con man


29-08-09, 08:53
It's difficult to read these labels, especially when so many of them have negative connotations. And conditions like "manic depression" are now called "bipolar disorder" etc to get away from negative stereotyping.

I read somewhere that a "cretin" was someone with an over or under active thyroid and the official definition of "idiot" was someone of an IQ lower than a number I can't remember.

But lunatic implies insanity, whereas idiot implies low intelligence. Not the same thing at all.

I have the same prob with my William Mealing of Broadmoor, who was at his trial described as "homicidal maniac" and suffering from "religious monomania". In the Broadmoor quarterly registers he is described as "feeble minded" for several years and then "weak minded". But none of these terms really helps to define what was wrong with him.

29-08-09, 09:01
Nell.............at least there are no "idiots" in Australia any more.

The powers that be keep dropping the IQ level to save money in our schools. Everyone passes....nobody needs extra help...

******takes soapbox and puts it away******