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Canvas restraint jacket for children, London, England, 1930-1960

Child patients in institutions were restrained using this jacket. It is made of canvas. The jacket was used during the 1930s through to the 1960s. It buttons up the front and is sleeveless with side straps. These allow the arms to be tied in at waist level. Such garments restricted the movements of children considered violent or unruly. These children often had mental health problems. Restraint jackets were phased out when anti-psychotic drugs and more ‘humane’ methods of management were introduced.

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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.

Glossary: restraint suit

No description.