In 1845, the treatment of pauper lunatics at a private asylum in Haydock,
Lancashire, caused a national scandal which revealed the worst excesses of
the insanity trade, where mentally ill patients were treated as little more
than a commodity through which other men could make their fortune
This novel tells the story of the Haydock Lodge scandal, and of Charles
Mott, the extraordinary man who was largely to blame for it.
What happened at Haydock Lodge shocked Victorian society and changed
forever the way mentally ill people were treated.
A common name, but an uncommon story.
This novel tells the stories of five generations of the Smith family of
Lancashire. It moves in time from the witchcraft trials of the 17th century
through the Civil War, the coming of the canals and the creeping tide of
industrialisation, to the General Strike of 1926 and its aftermath. It
follows the family's lives in Ormskirk, Lathorn, Dalton, Windle, Parr and
Haydock, from yeoman farmers to miners.
Its common thread is the story of the impact of great events on the lives
of ordinary people.
On the 7th of June in 1878, over two hundred men and boys were killed when
there was a massive explosion in a Lancashire coal mine.
This novel tells the story of their lives and deaths and of the impact of
the diaster on a small pit village.
These ordinary lives, uncelebrated and even unremembered, remind us of what
we owe to the colliers who went down into the earth to win the coal.
Mr Mott's Madhouse and other historical works by Allan Smith
Allan Smith, who was born and brought up in Haydock in Lancashire, has
converted his historical research into family and local history
into gripping fiction.
Published by Ampersand, The Stables, White House, Leighton, Welshpool,
Powys, SY21 8HH
Prices (including post and packing), direct from Ampersand:
Fatal Spark - £7.99
A Swarm Of Bees - £7.99
Mr Mott's Madhouse - £8.99
Cheques should be made payable to A. Smith
Also available, across the counter, at
Wardleworths Bookshop, 33 Westfield Street, St.Helens, Merseyside. WA10
The author of successful Geography texts for children, Allan Smith has
turned to historical fiction, based on fact, since his retirement. His
first narrative was Ellen Strange, the
story of a servant girl who was murdered on the Rossendale Moors in the
18th Century, and its resonance for a modern woman living nearby. This is
now out of print (although Allan has a few copies).
Allan's desire is to write about the lives and daily realities of ordinary
working people in the area he knows best. His next opportunity came when he
read Ian Winstanley's Weep Mother Weep (Landy Publishing 1989). This
gave him the basis for Fatal Spark (2007).
A Swarm of Bees (2008) grew out of five years of research into his
own family history. "Even with a very common name like Smith it is possible
to unearth a great deal about one's ancestors and the kinds of lives they
live". Using his imagination in the form of a novel enables Allan to link
these lives to some of the great events of history going on at the same
Allan's latest book, Mr Mott's Madhouse, links Wales, where Allan
lives, to his native Lancashire. It tells the story the Reverend Evan
Richards, vicar of Llanwnda and Llanfaglan, who, driven mad by the death of
his wife, was taken to a new Lancashire asylum that promised humane modern
treatment. As a child, Allan had walked past this asylum everyday on his
way to school. His interest in it revived when he read Andrew Robert's
England's Poor Law Commissioners and the Trade in Pauper Lunacy
1834-1847 (1990) and David Hirst's "A ticklish sort of
affair: Charles Mott, Haydock Lodge and the economics of asylumdom" in
History of Psychiatry (2005).