My thesis focuses on the outbreak of a condition called Epidemic Encephalitis in Sheffield during the 1920s and the 1930s, which sat ambivalently between mental and general medicine due to its complex dual nature.This thesis is based on an archival discovery that whilst some patients diagnosed with Epidemic Encephalitis were treated at the Sheffield Royal Hospital, others were sent to the South Yorkshire Mental Hospital. During a period when the calls for the integration of general and mental health care were on the cusp of becoming legislation, through the MacMillan Commission Report (1926) and the Mental Treatment Act (1930), this institutional and therapeutic separation is striking. Understanding the shifting justifications which underwrote the practical separation of these health care approaches is therefore a key aim of this thesis. In focusing on a local outbreak of a worldwide epidemic, this thesis will aim to shed light on how the traditional boundaries between mental and physical health were tested, negotiated yet ultimately reinforced in early twentieth century health service provision through the study and treatment of this condition.
Supervisors: Dr Chris Millard and Prof Adrian Bingham.