Fair Mile was more than just a psychiatric hospital; it was an example of a nationwide network of "pauper lunatic asylums," born of responsible Victorian legislation and compassion for the disadvantaged. It was a secure home to many of its patients and staff, and the community within its walls became an integral part of Cholsey, touching almost every household in the area. Drawing on county records, first-hand accounts, and archive photographs, Fair Mile Hospital describes the ethos of the Victorian asylum builders and the development of the facility that treated thousands of patients over four generations. Relating changes in practice and personnel, and the difficulties of two world wars, this is a unique account of a hospital that did its utmost for those in its care.
Ian Wheeler is a freelance editor who works on a variety of academic titles.