Culture and Health

Music as Therapy for the ‘exceptionally wealthy’ at the Nineteenth-Century Ticehurst Asylum

Music was widely used in asylums in 19th century England as part of the 'moral management' of patients through entertainment and occupation. The Ticehurst asylum was distinguished by its patient body from the upper classes of society. Ticehurst's musical records shed new light on the role of music in the treatment of mental health in the 19th century, and in particular on the perceived role of music in understanding the function of the brain in listening, emotion and intellect. The main body of the article draws on the Ticehurst archives together with patients' accounts of their musical experiences to investigate the ways in which music was used in the asylum. The final part focuses on an article published by the director and doctor of the asylum, Herbert Hayes Newington, in which the patients' appreciation of music is examined.