Help with Asylum Abbreviation

Discussion in 'Institutions' started by Flook, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman

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    On a page in the 1901 Census for Leavesden Asylum there is a handwritten abbreviation "Rel" (possibly "Del"). Does anyone have any idea what it means? It's probably something simple and obvious but I don't mind being thought daft if I can get the right answer :)!

    RG 13 Piece 1322 Folio 162 Page 48. or Elizabeth Lewis, birth year 1851, born in Kensington, London.
     
  2. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    This is a pure guess - this abbreviaton only seems to be against the inmates that have an occupation, and the enumerator has added or changed some of those occupations listed:- ie cap-maker to hat, seemstress to shirt maker. So could it mean the patient was Released out of the Asylum to work (not sure why the enumerator would want to know though).
     
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  3. Louise

    Louise Member

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    if its 'del' it could mean delusion.....

    I used to live in Abbots Langley and Leavesden Hospital was just down the
    road, I remember looking in through the metal fences at all the high and
    forbidding buildings. The hospital must have housed hundreds of people
    with different units I expect for men and women.
     
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  4. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman

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    Now that's clever thinking MollyMay (although I'd expect nothing less from you :)!). It's certainly a reason I'll have a close look at when everyone else has piled in with their ideas (he lives in hope!!).
     
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  5. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Ret? As in retired policeman, retired plumber etc?

    Edited to add - yes, if you flip back to page 6 where the list of inmates begins, I think it looks more like R-e-t. As the day goes on, I think the enumerator's handwriting becomes lazy. Agree that against Elizabeth's name it looks more like 'Del' but he starts forming his t's in inmate names in much the same way. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
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  6. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I think it is Ret. for retired :)

    I've looked up a few more asylums in 1901 and several have the same annotation. In one (Norwood) the occupation column gives the occupation as "formerly a needlewoman" (or whatever) with a ditto under 'formerly' all down the page. Above 'formerly' in the first entry 'Ret' has been entered. I suppose once they entered the asylum it was considered they had retired from their former occupation.

    Does that that makes sense ?

    Ann
     
  7. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman

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    Thank you everyone for your input; I’ve had a good think about all your suggestions. I've also had a really good look around myself but haven't been able to find an 'exact' answer on the internet.

    Interestingly I came across a civil servant who said it was common practice to put a Z in part of a table in a document if there was zero information. It showed that the 'empty' cell of the table had not just been overlooked. That actually applies in the 1901 Census schedules for Leavesden Asylum (post 1) where the enumerator religiously uses Z (for a 'nil' return) against “no occupation” (with a line beneath where he means ditto). This could imply that the “Ret” entries were counted rather than ignored.

    Logically “Ret” seems to mean “Retired” although I rather incline to it meaning “Returned”. “Retired” isn’t a category I’ve come across in census returns (except e.g. retired army officers). “Returned” could mean that that record (i.e. the occupation given) has been counted as legitimate for the census (whether or no it actually bore any semblance to reality).

    But who knows? Thanks once again for your suggestions.
     
  8. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    The idea that it stood for 'Returned' was the first thing I thought of, I must admit to 'Retired' not seeming a 'census' word. I think your idea is by far the best explanation, considering that most of the annotations were made by those checking and counting the census, especially as most occupations have been amended to their 'census' category :)

    Ann
     
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