Replica of an iron wrist restrainer

Made:
1850-1920
maker:
Unknown
SMG00156647

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SMG00156647
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Replica of an iron wrist restrainer covered in leather. 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 wrist restrainer was found in a chest at the Hanwell Asylum in Middlesex in 1930. Hanwell Asylum is now West London Mental Health NHS Trust at St Bernard’s Hospital. The restraint was used to contain a violent or unruly patient.

The copy is made of heavy leather with metal chain. It appears to be a highly accurate representation of the original because it shows marks of wear and tear. Hanwell Asylum’s superintendent was John Conolly (1794-1866). He famously renounced instruments of mechanical restraint in favour of ‘moral treatment’. Moral treatment was regular labour under constant surveillance. It is possible copies made of this and other articles found at the same time were created to illustrate to patients and staff the former treatment of inmates.

Details

Category:
Collection Unassigned
Object Number:
A602820/1
Materials:
iron and leather
type:
wrist restraint
taxonomy:
  • derivative object
  • copy - derivative object
  • reproduction
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment