Book opens a door to Hatton Asylum

Author Dr Alastair Robson presents a copy of his book to Wendy Townsend, library services manager and Andy Owen, consultant psychiatrist at St Michael’s in Warwick. (Submitted photo)

A NEW book tells the story about the Hatton Asylum.

Retired GP, Alastair Robson, is the author of Unrecognised by the World at Large, which is a unique biography of the asylum’s first physician, Dr Henry Parsey.

It offers an unbiased perspective of living and working in a Victorian asylum and discusses the care of the mentally ill before and after the asylum era.

Following the closure of Hatton Hospital, St Michael’s Hospital was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.

The purpose-built facility in Warwick provides inpatient mental health care for adults of all ages, and is run by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

Dr Parsey was a pupil of two of the most famous English physicians to the mentally ill, Dr John Conolly and Sir John Bucknill, who had both been in medical practice in Warwickshire.

Dr Robson said: “I discovered that the ward to which I had been sending patients from my GP surgery in Southam was in fact named after Dr Henry Parsey, the asylum’s first medical superintendent.

“I also found he had been widely respected by his colleagues for the excellent care he provided for his patients, and an obituary in the Lancet regretted ‘that he had been unrecognised by the world at large’.

“After my retirement and some more research, I thought ‘why hasn’t someone written something substantial about the good Doctor before now?’, so I decided it was going to have to be me. I took Unrecognised by the World at Large for a title, a deep breath in, and began.”

Dr Robson added that the book will appeal to readers interested in the history of medicine and Warwickshire history in general.

It is available directly from Troubador Publishing,, local bookshops, and Amazon.