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Joseph and Ann Allen, Prescot Residents, 1818 -1835/40


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  • 1 month later...

Thank you, Phyll, for the birthday greeting. It was much appreciated.


I also owe everyone on the site who has helped me a special note of thanks. Ratty, I will write you under separate cover, because you were so instrumental in helping me ferret out sources where I could go for information. All the death certificates have arrived, except one the GRO is still looking for. The records tell an interesting story.


Two of Joseph Allen's sons died in a lunatic asylum: James died in 1852 in the West Derby Lunatic Asylum of "paralysis of the brain;" and John Irving Allen died in 1862 in the Ashton Street, Liverpool Lunatic Asylum of "phthisis." Were these 2 different institutions or were they the same? And although I can find general information on Victorian asylum conditions, I can find nothing specific on these 2 institutions. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.


Also: Allen family members are trying to tell me that being an asylum patient back then could have been for a number of "acceptable" reasons like severe depression or epilepsy. However, with 2 brothers being committed, I have to wonder if there was a strain of mental illness in the family. Any thoughts on that?


I am the promiscuous type, now having attached myself to the Ormskirk & District Family History Society. Don't tell anyone, but they are not nearly as approachable, interested or organized as is St. Helens/Prescot. I have written them and ordered a CD to try to find more information on Joseph Allen's wife: Ann Irving, born bca 1784/1785 in Ormskirk where she married Joseph on 18 April 1818, presumably in a nonconformist chapel. I have been told that Ann was the daughter of a mill owner in Ormskirk, but there is no proof of that. The search continues on that front.


Well, that's about it. Thanks for letting me jabber on about my book project. You guys have been terrific and I am in your debt.


Warm regards from across the pond in HOT, HOT, HOT Georgia,


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Hello Paul. Have just come back from vacation and will get to your email as soon as I can. Meanwhile..



Rainhill Hospital, St Helens, Merseyside
Historic England Archives, BF102009
West Derby Lunatic Asylum Designed in 1846 by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, who died in 1847. William Mosley seems to have taken over as architect to the asylum. Built 1847-51. Alternative Italianate and Elizabethan designs produced. Separate block plan. Classified patients into convalescent, noisy, and idiot and epileptic patients each in rectangular blocks with a water tower.


Round about then West Derby was the area all of West Lancashire to the Mersey River.

Nowadays West Derby is a town and a district east of Liverpool city


Ashton street was also known as the Brownlow Hill Asylum by the way due to it being there first and then moving round the corner later
Have some ideas on the causes of death which I'll add to the email
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