The 1800s saw a series of scandals concerning individuals being locked away in lunatic asylums – the victims of unscrupulous persons who wanted to be rid of a ‘difficult’ family member, spouse or friend. But who were the victims of this trade? And to what extent was it carried on? Why was it a problem for the wealthy and less so for the poor? Was a male head of household simply able to ‘put away’ an unwanted wife or disobedient daughter? Sarah Wise examines a number of disputed lunacy cases, ranging from the 1820s to the 1890s - including the unsavoury incident that Sir Alexander Morison himself became embroiled in.

This talk is part of a series of events on the history of mental health which accompanies our free public exhibition 'Moonstruck: 500 years of mental health'.

This lecture will be introduced by Colin McKay, Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission.

Medical practitioners who are Fellows or Members of the College will be admitted free of charge.