paul tobia


Portraits of the Unremembered

Dr Paul Tobia, has been researching the patients at Bristol’s mental hospital, 1861-1900. Using the patient records at Bristol Archives and archives across Britain, he has created films and the many articles we have blogged on our website. Below is a beautifully drawn collection of portraits from another hospital, equally informative about people who became […]


Recoveries

In the ten years I have been researching the patients of the Bristol Lunatic Asylum, the thing that most struck me was the disparity between the popular view of asylums and the results of my studies. They were seen as as dreadful barbaric hellholes from which, once entered, you would never return but my studies […]


The fickle press and the asylum

By Dr Paul Tobia Whether the local press reflects public opinion in the late 1800s it is difficult to know because there are rarely any other sources, but they do give an insight into attitudes to mental health care. Bristol had produced many newspapers since the Bristol Post Boy was first published in 1702. When […]


Labelling. Putting people in a box is it ‘jail’ or ‘home’?

Article by Dr Paul Tobia Up until now I have concentrated on the patient records from Bristol’s purpose built asylum in the nineteenth century, but in this article I begin my exploration of  the period 1900-1915 before the asylum became Beaufort War Hospital in1915. This period, often called the Edwardian era, has been characterised as […]


At the Mercy of the Doctor

Article by Dr Paul Tobia History is often portrayed as a series of narratives in which great men (and they always seem to be men) changed the world with their strength and leadership, intellect or malevolence. This view of history has been challenged, as economic, social and cultural factors can be shown to be more […]


Life in Bristol Lunatic Asylum, Arthur Nichols’ letters 1884–1889

Article by Dr Paul Tobia Arthur Nichols is an interesting character. He spent roughly five years at the asylum before being transferred to the Hanwell Asylum in London. The Bristol Lunatic Asylum’s notes on him as a patient, held at Bristol Records Office, include several letters from him to various friends and family, providing us […]


Between the Devil and the Angels

Asylum Lives blog post by Paul Tobia This blog starts with the lives and experiences of people who suffered from mental health problems from 1861 to 1900 at the Bristol Lunatic Asylum, which later became Glenside Hospital. It will be run by Glenside Hospital Museum and myself, Paul Tobia. Initially it will be based on […]