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Cast-iron grave marker, England, 1859-1939

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Simple iron crosses like this marked the graves of former patients of St Audry’s Hospital. They were buried in the hospital’s grounds in Melton, England. Patients may have spent most of their lives as inmates and then died in the institution. They were marked in the hospital cemetery with a number, not their name. The hospital opened in 1765. It was originally a workhouse for the poor. It became the Suffolk County Lunatic Asylum in 1827. The hospital was also known as St Audry’s Hospital for Mental Diseases from 1917. The hospital and the Asylum Museum attached to it closed in the late 1980s. The grave markers were removed when the hospital grounds were redeveloped as a golf course.

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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.

Glossary: grave marker

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