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airing court

An enclosed exercise yard next to an asylum building. There were often several airing courts, separating male and female patients, as well as those with different clinical conditions. The courts had an ornamental layout and often a pleasant view out intended to calm and cheer the patient. The boundaries of the courts were secured either by fences, walls or ha-has so that the patients could not escape.

airing court, Brislington House, Bristol, England

The 1843 plan of Brislington House, Bristol, England illustrating its series of airing courts, bordered by walls, with areas of elevated ground in the centre (note the snail mount in the airing court second from left). The blue rectangular area between the central airing courts and the main block of the house contained cold baths which were also felt to be an important part of the therapeutic regime (Image courtesy of Somerset Record Office: Q/RLu 42/6).