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Tuke's account of his visit to Halle-Nietleben Asylum (1853)

Location: Halle, Kingdom of Prussia

Following his travels in 1853, Daniel Hack Tuke described what he encountered in European asylums in his essay - 'The progressive changes which have taken place since the time of Pinel in the moral management of the insane, and the various contrivances which have been adopted instead of mechanical restraint', published in Rules and list of the present members of the Society for Improving the Condition of the Insane (London : Churchill, 1854). Tuke's description of the asylum in Halle appears on page 48.


'The asylum at Halle in Prussia is recently erected and in this respect has great architectural advantages over Siegburg and many other conventional building now adapted to the care of the insane. It is under the superintendence of Dr. Damerow … and it deserves great praise on account of its excellent order and the cleanliness and comfort of the patients. Indeed, the cleanliness of the patients and the character of the attendants here were particularly noticeable; and it will be admitted that these are strong indications of the humanity and efficiency of the superintendent. Dr. Damerow expressed his opinion on the Non-Restraint System no less decidedly than Dr. Jacobi, and with no little warmth defended the mild employment of mechanical restraint on the ground of kindness to the patients themselves.'

Asylum visited