William Battie

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William Battie (sometimes spelt Batty–13 June 1776, was an English physician who published in 1758 the first lengthy book on the treatment of mental illness, A Treatise on Madness, and by extending methods of treatment to the poor as well as the affluent, helped raise psychiatry to a respectable specialty.


He was born in 1704, the son of a vicar, Reverend Edward Battie, in Modbury, Devon. He studied at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. Being unable to afford a legal training he "diverted his attention to physic" and practised for a short time in Cambridge. After practising for many years in the field of psychiatry in London, he acquired two private "madhouses" near St. Luke's, from which he gained a handsome income. His appointment as physician at St. Luke's gave him a firm base upon which to consolidate his reputation.

He was elected in January, 1742 a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was, in 1764, the first and only psychiatrist to become President of the Royal College of Physicians

He died following a stroke in 1776 and was buried alongside his wife in Kingston, Surrey.

Psychiatric work

Shortly after commencing at St Luke's, Battie restarted discussion on the management of mental disorder in his Treatise on Madness (1758). It was in large part...
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