value of exercise
and of recreation in general, as part of treatment for patients in asylums.
This was evidenced in the organisation of parties, dances and other forms of entertainment; it is apparent too in the case notes of patients. The
a library for patients was established at the Richmond Asylum, with a collection of eighteen non-fiction books, in 1844) or playing cards—
ainting or playing the piano.
most usual form of recreation, however, was to walk in the hospital grounds
It is not the case that there were no recreational or sporting initiatives; rather that they were not systematic and ordinarily were not pursued with sufficient resources
a ball-alley was provided but a section of it was then ‘fitted up as a pig-stye for the pigs of the apothecary’
When Dr Joseph Lalor replaced Wrigley and became resident medical superintendent at the Richmond Asylum in 1861, it appears that there was a change of approach; recreation out in the grounds was now firmly encouraged.11 Lalor wrote in his annual report in 1862 about the provision of football, handball, croquet, darts, bowling and walking for patients. In addition, there were weekly trips to the Phoenix Park, for exercise or to play football, and there was also marching around the Grangegorman grounds in time with the music of the asylum band
While this report most likely exaggerated the place of exercise and sport in the life of the asylum, it nonetheless demonstrates the extent to which it was now at least an aspiration.
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