180th Anniversary webinar: Debate 'Should psychiatrists from history be judged by today’s standards?'

Thursday 30 September 2021


As part of our 180th Anniversary webinar series, join us for this live debate: "Should psychiatrists from history be judged by today’s standards?"

Henry Maudsley was a leading psychiatrist of the late 19th century. Amongst his many achievements, he co-edited the Journal of Mental Science (now the British Journal of Psychiatry) and he was President of the Medico-Psychological Association (now the Royal College of Psychiatrist). He made a large donation to found the Maudsley Hospital and a bronze bust still sits in the entrance hall.

However, he was a vocal opponent of higher education for woman and an active opponent of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in her campaign for women to be admitted into the medical profession. He was a leading advocate of hereditary degeneration as the cause of mental disorder and a therapeutic nihilist. He had some role in the development of psychiatric eugenics.

Should Maudsley be judged by the standards of today, in which case should the hospital be renamed and his bust removed, or should we judge him by the standards of the time he lived in? Simon Wessely and Rob Poole debate the question with respect to Maudsley and other controversial psychiatrists of the past.


This webinar will be chaired by Paul Rees and feature speakers:

  • Simon Wessely (against)
  • Rob Poole (for)
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