Jeremy Bentham and his Panopticon

Jeremy Bentham

Bentham (1748-1832) a child prodigy, later a philosopher, writer, and social reformer, also designed a new type of prison, the Panopticon.

David Urquhart's father died while he was a child, leaving his mother in charge of his upbringing. Jeremy Bentham, who was a friend of the family, also took an interest in the young Urquhart's education and helped start him on his career.

When Urquhart was asked to advise on the construction of a Turkish bath for Colney Hatch he saw that many of the patients would need to be supervised and suggested that the panopticon would allow such supervision without too much intrusion.

But the cost was too great and a far simpler bath was built.

In design terms, the Panopticon, with a central supervisory area on several levels, facilitated the continuous supervision of cells lining the inner circumference of the building while employing the minimum number of warders.

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North Wales County Lunatic Asylum

Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum

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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

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