Mary Lee's entries in the Visitor's Book at the North Terrace Lunatic Asylum

In 1896, Mary Lee, then aged 75, was appointed by the Kingston Government as the first and only woman official visitor to the two lunatic asylums, one in North Terrace and the other at Parkside. These records are copied from the Visitors' Books for the North Terrace asylum. The other official visitors were Members of Parliament and most simply signed on the left hand page with the date and wrote 'Visited asylum today'on the right hand side. Mary Lee signed both sides for the first few visits and consistently wrote comments. Her visits and the record end in 1901.

Source: STATE RECORDS OFFICE - GRG 34 97 3 V/B

1896

MAR 5TH Visited for 1st time today - Much pleased with the order and apparent cheerfullness (sic) of all I have seen here today. Mary Lee

APRIL 29 Visited the asylum. Still much gratified at the cheerful well ordered aspect of all I have seen today. Mary Lee.

MAY 21st Find everything done which can be done by the officers to make conditions cheerful

JULY 24th Find all gratifyingly bright and cheerful

AUG 21st Find bedside carpets required for several beds, about 60 yards required. Will the Medical Superintendent be good enough to direct that a copy of this memo be sent to the Chief Secretary signed by himself when it will doubtless receive due attention.

SEPT 22 Visited today found everything done to promote the cheerfulness and happiness of the inmates.

OCT 20 Visited today. Find all cheerful and orderly and bright as can be under the circumstances.

DEC 10th Visited today, order comfort & cheerfulness. No perfunctory work done here - real heart service.

1897

JAN 28th Visited today - pained to learn that these devoted officials have only 2 weeks holiday out of the long fifty two, hardly time to get out of sight of these walls.

FEB 26th Visited today - Find as usual everything done to render the conditions as cheerful and healthful as possible.

MAR 27 Visited male department today.

APR 27 Visited today. find everything done as usual for order, comfort and cheerfulness

MAY 28 Visited today - most gratifying to find the officials work done here with so much heart in it.

JUNE 29th Visited women and children today.

JULY 27th Visited Women's department today find everything as home like & cheerful as human devotion to duty can make it.

AUG 30 Gratifying to find such cheerfulness and order maintained amid such trying conditions.

SEPT 22 Visited asylum today - heartily endorse Mr. Cohen's opinion.

This refers to the entry above Mary Lee's by another of the 'official' visitors(Mr. L. Cohen) who had described the asylum as 'scrupulously clean'.

OCT 22 Visited today - Find as usual everything indicating real heart service towards the inmates of this most humane of our institutions.

NOV. 28 Visited Asylum

1898

JAN 27 Visited kitchens & stores and found all satisfactory.

FEB 26th Visited today

MAR 17th Visited both male and female depts today found all cheerful and pleasant as the circumstances can allow us to hope.

MAR 30 Visited Male and female depts. find as usual all that can be done is being done to make the loves of the patients cheerful and endurable.

APR. 27 Visited today the male dept and the sick.

MAY 20th Visited the stores and kitchens and saw the men at dinner - all very satisfactory.

JUNE 29 Visited today all "well as can be expected"

JULY 27 Visited today, all as usual

AUG 22 Visited the grounds today find the officials outside the asylum, like those within it, put heart in their work

SEPT 30 Visited female Department & Courts 1 &2 male side, all satisfactory as sad conditions allow.

DEC 7th Visited today. Regret to find there is yet no resident assistant appointed to Dr. Clelland. The public must be asked for their opinion on this glaring in-humanity.

There is a pencilled margin note which reads: Copy to Hon, Chief Sect. 7/12/98

1899

JAN 25 Visited male & female depts everything possible done for comfort order and health.

MAR 30 Visited female dept. also the stores, fairly satisfactory. Find the air heavy with the smoke from rubbish burning in the Botanic Gardens.
Necessary to remind those responsible that neither patients nor officials can get away from this nuisance.

APRIL 26 Visited male departments find 5 bedside carpets necessary about 20 yds in H ward. cold hard floors not comforting to step upon in the early frosty mornings just turning out of bed. -
Kindly send clean carpets.

JUNE 27 Visited stores- fairly satisfactory, no notice taken of my requests for bedside carpets - again I repeat this is inhumane & injudicious. Shall I have to beg for them of the public! — If I must I will. In the hospital ward it is especially necessary.

JULY 27 Visited Male and Female Depts glad to see bedside carpets supplied. Find the air thick with the smell & smoke from burning rubbish in the adjacent Botanic Gardens. These people should be reminded that our officials cannot run away form this nuisance, it is the third time I have found it so . . . .order comfort cleanliness & cheerfulness here.

AUG 30 Visited today. Find a tender ceaseless devotion to ever-trying duties on the part of the officials creating a wondrous atmosphere of Home under very trying conditions.

SEPT 30 Visited today— found all as normal— order comfort cleanliness — nothing neglected which devoted attention to duty can do.

OCT 29 Visited today. Find as usual everything bright, clean & cheerful - Flowers everywhere indoors and out.

DEC 30th all as usual

1900

JAN 24 Visited today. Find order cleanliness comfort everywhere - homelike & cheerful

FEB 28 Visited today

MAR 31 Visited this day

APRIL 28 Visited Male & Female dept, order cleanliness & comfort everywhere

JULY 28 Visited today

1901 FEB 16 APR. 27 OCT 30 - LONG COMMENT

The book finishes here although it was not full.