Chris Saunders sent an interesting extract from the London Gazette of 1870 relating to the Early Mad Houses of St Albams and Harpenden. On looking at the page I realised that it was an early page which had been prepared when the 1881 census was available on CD, the St Albans census was available in book form - and there were no censuses online. I decided to update the page to include the more recently available material and this gave me an idea for a "competition" in the run up to Christmas.- so here goes ...
Between 1851 and 1901 there was a private lunatic asylum at Harpenden Hall, and in each of the censuses there were at least 4 patients in residence, Sometime their names are given, but in other cases only initials. Some were present in more than one census.
The challenge is for visitors to this page to identify how many of the patients can be at least provisionally identified (with supporting information from other sources as appropriate) and post your findings as comments to this blog. Some patients may be quite easy and some are almost certainly impossible. The "prize" is that I will donate £2.00 to this site's mental health appeal for each patient where a reasonable identification has been made as to the identity of the patient - and £5.00 in each case where an initials only patient has been identified. I will make even higher donations for particularly interesting sources - such as the discovery of a will making provision for a mentally ill relative.
Suggestions close by 25th December - which will allow me to pay the forfeit before the 2011 online collecting box closes at the end of the year. I will bring all the responses together early in 2012, with acknowledgement the those of you that made me donate!