on the button Issue 34 - Page 8

Three Counties Hospital Staff at the Hospital Part 5 – Over the last few months we have looked at the history of the Three Counties Asylum from its conception, design and build ,We have looked at the various treatments for patients both good and bad,We know of the sporting achievements that held the hospital in very high regard, the great Christmas and New Years Eve balls that were renowned as high class affairs Written by Richard Knight But what do we know about the staff who worked there, the people who actually held it all together. To run the asylum as a complete self sufficient unit took a lot of staff with a strict hierarchy from the superintendent at the top right down to the cleaners and gardeners. The Superintendent was held in very high regard and he was irreproachable.. He was so powerful he could decide weather you married or not, You would have to have a meeting with the Superintendent with your intended If your chosen partner was deemed unacceptable then you would not be allowed to marry. If you did then you would have to leave the employment at the asylum. The first staff members were mostly ex employees from the old Bedford asylum,Just because you worked at Bedford it did not necessarily mean that you would be guaranteed a job at the new asylum. The opening of the new asylum meant it was a good chance for the new committee to clear out any bad apples and hand pick the best staff for the new Three Counties.. William Denne and his wife Lucy were automatically given the job as Superintendent and Matron, a role they fulfilled at The Bedford Asylum very satisfactorily.The Dennes were a very popular Husband and Wife team and people liked working under them, it seemed a natural transition to re-employ them to take charge at TCA. The Dennes were great believers in abolishing physical restraint which did go against the grain of some of the older attendants so now was their chance to let them go. Being the asylum superintendent had good benefits, William Denne was paid £500 a year which was a fortune in 1860, Lucy was paid £100 for her work as asylum Matron. The Dennes were also given a furnished house, an allowance for coal, gas and laundry, although they had to find and employ their own servants! Samuel Wing from the Bedford asylum was taken on as clerk, not only to the asylum but also the visiting committee, he was paid £200 a year plus £25 for travel. Bedford asylum officer John Barnes was employed as asylum steward and bailiff with a wage of £200 a year, He was also given an unfurnished house and an allowance for vegetables coal and gas.As well as being in charge of the asylum servants he was also in charge of the asylum farm, Barnes asked if he could have