Replica of a 19th-century restraint harness, England, 1930-1940

Made:
1930-1940 in England
maker:
Unknown
Leather belt to which are attached manacles for the wrists (copy).
      Full view, grey background. Leather belt to which are attached manacles for the wrists (copy). grey graduated background

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Leather belt to which are attached manacles for the wrists (copy). Full view, grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Leather belt to which are attached manacles for the wrists (copy). grey graduated background
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Replica of leather restraint belt with manacles attached for the wrists. The original, probably from the late 19th or early 20th century, was found around 1930 in a chest in the cellar at Hanwell Asylum, the asylum on the outskirts of London whose superintendant, John Conolly (1794-1866), famously renounced all instruments of mechanical restraint in favor of 'moral treatment,' that is, regular labour under constant close surveillance.

The original of this leather restraint harness was found in a chest at the Hanwell Asylum in Middlesex in 1930. Such garments restricted the movements of mentally ill patients who were considered violent. They were universally used until the end of the 1700s. More humane methods of management were introduced throughout the 1800s. The asylum’s superintendent was John Connolly (1794-1866). He famously renounced instruments of mechanical restraint in favour of ‘moral treatment‘. Moral treatment was regular labour under constant surveillance. Copies made of this and other articles found at the same time were possibly created to illustrate the former treatment of inmates to patients and staff.

Details

Category:
Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
A629640
Materials:
leather and steel
type:
restraint harness
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment