HC Deb 24 July 1914 vol 65 cc804-5W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that large parties of lunatics from the Cornwall County Asylum are sent twice a week during the summer for picnics to Trebetherick, a growing seaside resort 15 miles from the asylum, and that the Lunacy Commissioners have declined to hold a local inquiry or to interfere, though for the past three years the ratepayers of Trebetherick have made frequent and serious complaints, offering to prove specific acts of disorderly conduct, trespass, molestation of women and children, obscenity, and the like; whether he is aware that these picnics were some years ago moved from the beach adjoining the building estate of a member of the asylum visiting committee at the request of a tenant on that estate; that the reports presented to the Lunacy Commissioners by the asylum authorities and their published statements with reference to the above complaints are incomplete and misleading; and whether, in view of these facts, he will take steps to compel the asylum authorities to hold the picnics for these lunatics in future at one of the less frequented places which have been suggested to them?


I am informed by the Board of Control that they are aware of the practice referred to in the question, and though no formal local inquiry has been held by them they have been fully informed of the circumstances in which these parties have been taken to the seaside and have investigated the complaints made by residents and others. They have no reason to think that the reports made to them by the asylum authorities have been misleading, and they have come to the conclusion that some of the matters on which complaint has been made have been considerably exaggerated. Recently no complaints at all have reached them. The asylum authorities are alive to the necessity of taking adequate precautions against all risks.