William Tuke


William Tuke was an 18th century British businessman and philanthropist, whose Quaker beliefs led him to develop human methods for working with those who have mental disorders. He, along with Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) in France and Vincenzo Chiarugi (1759–1820) in Italy, developed what was subsequently called moral treatment.

Tuke’s involvement in the reform movement followed the death of Hannah Mills, a member of his Quaker community who been hospitalized for melancholia. Quakers who were friends of Hannah and her family were refused permission to visit Hannah. She subsequently died under what were found to be appalling conditions. Tuke was enlisted to help reform the institution and in 1796, he, along with others in the community, started the York Retreat, a facility that became a model for more human practices throughout the world.

The practices that went into the moral treatment at the York Retreat included removing inmates' chains, housing them in a pleasant environment, providing them with decent food and a therapeutic program.