A biography of Dr Henry Parsey, Physician to the Hatton Asylum, Warwick
by Alastair Robson
The building of asylums throughout the country in the middle of the 19th Century expressly for the pauper mentally ill, who would otherwise have had no means of obtaining any medical care at all for themselves or their family members, was enlightened thinking by the Victorians. Victorian doctors of the mentally ill (or 'alienists' as they were known) were dedicated physicians who laboured under difficult circumstances to provide care, and occasionally cure, for their patients, whose numbers were to rise remorselessly throughout the Century. Unrecognised by the World at Large is a biography of Dr Henry Parsey, the first physician to the Warwick Asylum at Hatton, is a study of a 19th century provincial alienist’s medical training and career – with an intimate glimpse of his domestic life in his last years – and discusses extensively the care of the mentally ill before and after the asylum era. Dr Parsey was a pupil of two of the most famous English physicians to the mentally ill, Dr John Conolly and Sir John Bucknill; both of whom had been in medical practice in Warwickshire. Under Dr Henry Parsey’s supervision, the Warwick Asylum was internationally respected for the excellence of its care, yet he remained unrecognised by the world at large; Alastair’s book offers the same recognition to Dr Parsey as is given to other illustrious Victorian alienists. Inspired by the work of Michael Holroyd and Richard Ellmann, Unrecognised by the World at Large offers readers a unique perspective of the life and work of Dr Parsey. It will appeal to readers interested in medical history and the Victorian asylum era, as well as those interested in the history of the Warwickshire area.