Lunatic asylum records go on display in Sheffield

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Records from the South Yorkshire lunatic asylum and notes on Sheffield criminals from the 1800s are among the exhibits set to be on display in Sheffield tomorrow.

The Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library is hosting an open day from 2pm-4pm with the most weird and wonderful exhibits from its collections selected by members of staff.

Lunatic asylum records dating back to 1872 include entries where the cause of insanity for some patients was logged childbirth, religion, sun-stroke and change of life.

Council committee notes from 1848 show how litter and anti-social behaviour was an issue in the city even then, with reports of ‘serious accidents’ caused by ‘persons throwing orange peel on the footpaths and on the streets’ among the incidents discussed.

A ‘Ticket-of-Leave’ book charting the details of all known criminals in Sheffield between 1864 and 1874 contains the crimes they were accused of and notes on their appearance, which were used by police officers to identify and help capture offenders.

A weekly food menu from Sheffield’s Workhouse from around 1750 is also on show and details how people were only given milk in the mornings, boiled meat or boiled pudding at lunch and bread and cheese or broth in the evenings.

Pete Evans, Archives and Heritage Manager at Sheffield City Council, said: “The archives are brilliant. They have so much information about our past and really bring history to life.

“There’s so much to discover here – more than 50,000 of boxes of material from the 12th century up to modern times, charting the history of the city. It’s all freely available, and much of the material is also online.”