Henry Maudsley  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Henry Maudsley (1835–1918) was a pioneering English psychiatrist.

Biographical sketch

Henry Maudsley was born on an isolated farm near Giggleswick in North Yorkshire and educated at University College London. He was an outstandingly brilliant medical student, collecting ten Gold Medals and graduating with an M.D. degree in 1857. Like Charles Darwin, Maudsley lost his mother at an early age and, to some extent, he carried signs of bereavement throughout his adult life, compromising his intellectual gifts with temperamental caution, detachment and secretiveness. Initially seeking employment in the East India medical services, he was required to have psychiatric experience and took an asylum job at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield for ten months. He then worked, less happily, at the Essex County Asylum at Brentwood for a brief period. Unlike his near-contemporary James Crichton-Browne, Maudsley regarded himself as a physician rather than as a medical psychologist; and despite his trenchant materialism, Maudsley never flirted with phrenological ideas.

At the age of 23, Maudsley was appointed medical superintendent at the Manchester Royal Lunatic Asylum in Cheadle Royal. He returned to London in 1862, taking up residence in Queen Anne St., Cavendish Square and, in 1865, he applied, unsuccessfully, for the position of Physician to the Bethlem Royal Hospital; however, he did obtain a position as a physician to the West London Hospital. Maudsley was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and delivered their Gulstonian Lectures in 1870 - on "Body and Mind". The text of Maudsley's lectures was studied carefully by Charles Darwin in the preparation of his The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Maudsley was appointed Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at University College London from 1869 to 1879.

Henry Maudsley married John Conolly's daughter, Ann Conolly, in February 1866, and from 1866 took over the running of Conolly's private mental asylum, Lawn House, until 1874. Maudsley acquired a reputation as an outstanding essayist on medical and literary topics with numerous contributions to the "Journal of Mental Science" which he edited from 1862 until 1878. Maudsley's supreme position as England's foremost mental specialist was sealed by his acquaintance with Charles Darwin and other leading Victorian intellectuals and by his magisterial textbooks The Physiology and Pathology of Mind, Body and Mind and Mental Responsibility in Health and Disease. In his later years, Maudsley became something of a recluse, resigning from the Medico-Psychological Association, and, in a few scattered publications, expressing regret at his career choice of psychiatry. Maudsley was predeceased by his wife and died without issue.

From 1862 until 1878 he was also editor of the Medico-Psychological Association's publication, the Journal of Mental Science, now known as The British Journal of Psychiatry. It was Maudsley who helped expand the scope of the journal to include articles of both a psychological and philosophical nature.

In 1907, Dr. Henry Maudsley collaborated with London County Council to found the Maudsley Hospital by donating £30,000. This was to be a new mental hospital that would treat early and acute cases and have an out-patient clinic. The hospital also housed teaching and research. The buildings were ready in 1915 and a new Act of Parliament made voluntary treatment possible. In 1948, the hospital merged with Bethlem Royal Hospital.


  • 1867 The Physiology and Pathology of Mind. Macmillan
  • 1870 Body and Mind: An Inquiry into their Connection and Mutual Influence. Macmillan
  • 1874 Responsibility in Mental Disease. King
  • 1874 'Sex in mind and in education.' Fortnightly Review, 15
  • 1876 The Physiology of Mind. — Enlarged and revised 3rd editions
  • 1879 The Pathology of Mind. — of the 1867 work. (Macmillan)
  • 1883 Body and Will: In its Metaphysical, Physiological and Pathological Aspects. Kegan, Paul
  • 1886 Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings. Kegan, Paul
  • 1902 Life in Mind and Conduct: Studies of Organic in Human Nature. Macmillan
  • 1908 Heredity, Variation and Genius, with Essay on Shakespeare and Address on Medicine. John Bale, Sons & Danielsson
  • 1916 Organic to Human: Psychological and Sociological. Macmillan
  • 1918 Religion and Realities. John Bale, Sons & Danielsson

See also

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