The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310 Message #3888680
Posted By: GUEST,Karen
15-Nov-17 - 07:24 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Hello Jim and Lighter
Interesting discussion, thanks!
There is a small problem with the article Jim linked to. Odd how when you begin to research something you find out how unsatisfactory wikepedia is! And how supposition gets turned into facts.
The article claims that the origins of the term 'lock hospital' is in old institutions for the treatment of venereal disease. It purports to have references to support this claim. Neither of these references proves any such thing. One is broken, but led to a site in a different alphabet which turned out to be about gambling when translated! The other is an article about leprosy. I can find no reference to lock hospitals or the term 'lock hospital' in it.
This myth or idea that lock hospitals is one I have encountered frequently. I have encountered many articles and book sections guessing at the origins of the term 'lock hospital'. Some of these are written by experts in medicine. They offer a variety of suppositions. For me, the best way to find the history of a word is to use a good dictionary, one that gives the history of a word. The earliest use of the term 'lock hospital' is if I remember aright 1770, when it meant hospital for treatment of venereal disease. It never meant hospital for treatment of leprosy.