Opened in 1796, it is famous for having pioneered the so-called "moral treatment" that became a behaviour model for asylums around the world with mental health issues. Founded by William Tuke, it was originally only for Quakers but gradually became open to everyone. It inspired other progressive facilities such as the US Brattleboro Retreat, Hartford Retreat and Friends Hospital. The present day The Retreat seeks to retain the essence of early "moral treatment", while applying the principles to a modern healthcare setting.
The Retreat continued to operate as an independent hospital into the modern era. However, on 31 December 2018, it withdrew from inpatient care with its remaining services for eating disorders and personality disorders now being run by the Schoen Clinic. The Retreat continues to run outpatient community psychological assessment, diagnostic and therapy services at the Tuke Centre, including an Autism and ADHD service.
One from May 2021, recently released for public consumption.