Posted on 17/11/2010
Dr Jane Hamlett has been awarded £229,792 from the Economic and Social Research Council to conduct the first ever comparative historical study of the interiors of residential institutions – including "lunatic asylums", as they were once known, lodging houses and public schools. She will explore how these places used interior decoration to construct their institutional identities, and how this influenced the lives of their inmates during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As part of her research, Dr Hamlett will be exploring the Holloway Sanitorium at Virginia Water, which was established by Thomas Holloway, the founder of Royal Holloway in 1879. Dr Hamlett's research tackles issues that are directly relevant to Britain today, with the Government unveiling plans to rebuild the Broadmoor Secure Mental Health Unit in response to appeals to improve the privacy and dignity of its inmates.