“The mentally ill have always been with us, but for no family is this truer than for the Eustace Family. For five generations, for nearly two hundred years, they have cared for the mentally ill, have lived with them, have accepted them as part of their normal daily lives. While the treatment and care of mental illness is, in our day, accepted as one of the duties of a caring society, we must remember, that when John Eustace opened the doors of Hampstead Hospital in 1825, old attitudes were only beginning to change. The mentally ill were still outcasts, still ‘lunatics’, the majority of them being treated with coercion and restraint. The State’s policy of providing asylums was only developing and it would be a long time before these became caring and therapeutic institutions.
John Eustace was, however, a Quaker, and was influenced greatly by the Quaker philosophy of ‘Moral Treatment’ compassion rather than punishment – expounded by William Tuke in The York Retreat. Tuke’s basic belief that the care of the disturbed patient should be holistic rather than purely medical, has been central to the development of the Eustace Family’s approach to the mentally ill. In this context, holistic extended to include sympathetic surroundings with space to work, space to walk, space to relax. Hence the beautiful lands of the Eustace Estate formed, from the start, an integral part of the treatment; and because the Eustaces always lived on the Estate, indeed, for a long time in the same houses as the patients, the history of the Eustace family is inseparable from a history of the development of the Eustace Hospital Group itself.”
To read the full Eustace family history, please click on the document on the right of this page.