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Printing stamps from St. Francis Psychiatric Hospital, England, 1948-1990

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High levels of bureaucracy existed within institutional life. These four printing stamps were used for administration at St. Francis Psychiatric Hospital in Brighton. One records patient weight changes, two relate to re-admissions, and one is a general purpose hospital stamp. By the mid-20th century, spending time in an institution was not the life sentence it could be in the old ‘lunatic asylums’. Many patients were actually out-patients. Re-admissions were common enough to require a stamp. Patients were allotted a reference number on re-admission. Their circumstances, mental health and physical details were noted.

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Glossary: stamp

Instruments for stamping, such as dies or tools for impressing or marking a design or pattern on metal, paper, or other soft or absorbent material.

Glossary: psychiatric hospital

Psychiatric hospital specialising in the treatment of serious mental illness, usually for relatively long-term patients.

Glossary: asylum

A historic term for a psychiatric hospital. The term in this context was common in the 1700s and 1800s, but is no longer in use.