Living in One of R. D. Laing’s Post-Kingsley Hall Households
Kingsley Hall was the first of Laing’s household communities that served as a place where you could live through madness until you could get it together and live independently. It was conceived as an “asylum” from forms of treatment — psychiatric or otherwise — that many were convinced were not helpful, and even contributed to their difficulties. Laing and his colleagues, including David Cooper and Aaron Esterson, leased the building from a London charity and occupied it from 1965 to 1970. The house was of historic significance, having been the residence of Mahatma Gandhi when he was negotiating India’s independence from British rule. Muriel Lester, the principal trustee of Kingsley Hall, agreed that Laing’s vision for its use was faithful to its long-established humanitarian purpose. Kingsley Hall was leased to his organization — the Philadelphia Association — for the sum of one British Pound per annum.