top of page

Mental Health

Forgotten Women Logo

The Sick Child by Edvard Munch [1907]

Image ©The Tate Gallery

Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NV-ND 3.0 [Unported]

These stories are of women whose lives were affected by struggles with their mental health. See also the stories of women who either took their own lives, or whose lives were impacted by suicide. You can access the stories by clicking on the women's names below.

Here are some resources that might help with this topic.

Chater, Kathy My Ancestor was a Lunatic: a guide to sources for family historians Pen & Sword (2014)

Davis, Mark Voices from the Asylum: West Riding pauper lunatic asylum Amberley Publishing (2013)

Lockley, Diane The House of Cure: life within the Leicestershire lunatic asylum Anchorprint (2011)

Museum of the Mind

Annie Foley, later Annie Norris aka Ellen Norris 1852-1907 from Somers Town, Middlesex – Abandonment, Alcoholism, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 3 minute read.

Jessie Franklin aka Jessie Gray aka Jessie Richardson aka Jessie Graham aka Lilian Newlands c.1870-? from Bermondsey, Surrey - Alcoholism, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Prostitution, Sickness, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 8 minute read..

Isabella Fry, later Isabella Braund 1868-1908 from Darlington, Co. Durham - Mental Health, Suicide. 7 minute read.

Elizabeth Instrell c.1794-1848 from Popham, Hampshire - Mental Health, Poverty. 4 minute read.

Elizabeth Jones, later Elizabeth Wannell 1863-1930 from Southwark, Surrey – Alcoholism, Child Mortality, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Poverty, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 14 minute read.

Betty Kershaw 1832-1877 from Leeds, Yorkshire - Disability, Domestic Abuse, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Murder, Sickness. Warning, this story includes an account of domestic abuse. 12 minute read.

The Leighton Sisters from Herne Hill, Lambeth, Surrey Ada Florence 1870-1863, Frances Mary 1871-1970, Caroline Jessie 1874-1965, Lottie Matilda 1877-1964 and Gertrude Fanny 1880-1931 - Mental Health, No Descendants, Women at Work. 15 minute read.

Louisa Mason 1868-1925 from Barkingside, Essex - Alcoholism, Illegitimacy, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Prostitution, Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women. 4 minute read.

Ellen O’Donoghue, later Ellen Heather 1863-1913 from London, Middlesex - Alcoholism, Disability, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Poverty, St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory. 3 minute read.

Ann Palmer c.1780-1824 from Dagenham, Essex - Infanticide, Lawbreaking, Mental Health, Suicide. Warning, this story involves child murder. 5 minute read.

Sarah Ann Sadler, later Sarah Ann Spibey 1842-1844 from Whitchurch, Shropshire - Mental Health, Poverty, Sickness. 7 minute read.

Georgina Wyche 1875-1901 from Highbury, London - Mental Health, No Descendants, Suicide, Women at Work. Warning, this story includes an account of suicide. 5 minute read.

bottom of page