1907 08 23

1907 August 23rd      Dorchester – Tea As Aid To Lunacy

Dr Macdonald, medical superintendent of the Dorset County Asylum in his annual report relating to the treatment of mental diseases at that institution, points out that the black teapot is a tragic factor in the creation of lunatics. “Since milk is short,” he observes, “something else must take its place, and everyone knows what is meant by the black teapot, which is always to be found on the hearthstone. The father, mother, son, daughter, and even the suckled infant, all share alike from the ordinary fare of black tea, bread and cheese, morning, noon and night. If the beverage tea were properly prepared and not indulged in too freely, no harm would be likely to accrue, but what will be said of the ordinary labourer who consumes daily two or three quarts of black tea thus prepared. A brew is made between five and six am, and this same pot continues in use by being added to from time to time during the working day until at last it is little less than rank poison. The fact that this tea is without either sugar or milk, being what is familiarly known in Dorset as “stark naked,” makes things worse, and I am convinced is, in many cases, the cause of insanity among the labouring classes.”

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