The Updated Bethlem (Bedlam) Hospital. In the 1800s and early 1900s, many insane asylums (as well as prisons and orphanages) were treated as tourist attractions. This practice had started long ago, when visitors to Bedlam in London paid a penny to see the lunatics there. They were allowed to bring in sticks to poke the inmates with, to stir them up.
Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. Bethlem, the world's oldest institution specializing in the mentally ill, started admitting unbalanced patients in 1357. Throughout most of its history the conditions in the asylum were atrocious. For example, in the 18th century the public could pay a penny for the privilege of watching the "freaks"; they were even permitted to poke the caged patients with