Dr Smith's areas of research are the History of Psychiatry and of Institutions for mentally disordered people in Britain and its former colonies. He has published extensively on the historical development of lunatic asylums. He has also undertaken research on economic, social and labour history in England in the period 1750 - 1939. Len Smith qualified as a psychiatric social worker in 1973, and has worked continuously in mental health services since that time.
Insanity, Race and Colonialism: Managing Mental Disorder in the Post-Emancipation British Caribbean, 1838-1914, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
Lunatic Hospitals in Georgian England, 1750 - 1830, London: Routledge, 2007.
'Cure, Comfort and Safe Custody'; Public Lunatic Asylums in Early Nineteenth-Century England. London: Leicester University Press, 1999.
Carpet Weavers and Carpet Masters: The Hand-Loom Carpet Weavers of Kidderminster, 1780 - 1850, Kidderminster: Kenneth Tomkinson, 1986.
The Carpet Weaver's Lament: Songs and Ballads of Kidderminster in the Industrial Revolution, Kidderminster: Kenneth Tomkinson, 1979.
Articles and Chapters in Edited Volumes:
‘“A Sad Spectacle of Hopeless Mental Degradation”: The Management of the Insane in West Midlands Workhouses, 1815-60’, in J. Reinarz and L. Schwarz (eds), Medicine and the Workhouse (Rochester and Woodbridge, Suffolk: University of Rochester Press, 2013).
‘Welcome Release: Perspectives on Death in the Early County Lunatic Asylums, 1810-50’, History of Psychiatry 23, 2012, 117-128.
'Caribbean Bedlam: The Development of the Lunatic Asylum System in Britain's West Indian Colonies, 1838-1914', The Journal of Caribbean History 44, 2010, 1-47.
'"The Keeper Must Himself Be Kept": Visitation and the Lunatic Asylum in England, 1750-1850', in G. Mooney and J. Reinarz (eds), Permeable Walls; Historical Perspectives on Hospital and Asylum Visiting (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2009), 199-222.
'Your Very Thankful Inmate": Discovering the Patients of an early County Lunatic Asylum', Social History of Medicine 21, 2008, 237-252.
'A Gentleman's Mad-Doctor in Georgian England: Edward Long Fox and Brislington House', History of Psychiatry 19,2008, 163-184.
'Doctors and Lunatics: the Enigma of the Leicester Asylum, 1781 - 1837', in Jonathan Reinarz (ed.), Medicine and Society in the Midlands 1750 - 1950, Birmingham: Midland History Occasional Publications, 2007, 47-60.
'The Architecture of Confinement; Urban Public Asylums in England, 1750 - 1820', in L.Topp, J.E. Moran and J. Andrews (eds.), Madness, Architecture and the Built Environment: Psychiatric Spaces in Historical Context, London: Routledge, 2007, 41-61.
'Thomas Bakewell', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
'Joseph Mason Cox', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
'William Ellis', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
'Samuel Hitch', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
'Greeners and Sweaters: Jewish Immigration and the Cabinet-Making Trade in East London, 1880-1914', Jewish Historical Studies 39,2004, 103-120.
'The County Asylum in the Mixed Economy of Care, 1808 - 1845'. in J. Melling and B. Forsythe (ed.), Insanity, Institutions and Society, 1800 - 1914; A Social History of Madness in Comparative Perspective, London: Routledge, 1999, 33-47.
'"The Greatest Ornament of Our Native County"; Staffordshire General Lunatic Asylum, 1818 - 1862', Staffordshire Studies 11, 1999, 82-95.
'Sandfield House Lunatic Asylum, Lichfield, 1820 - 1856', Staffordshire Studies 10, 1998, 71-5.
'Insanity and Ethnicity: Jews in the Mid-Victorian Lunatic Asylum', Jewish History and Culture 1, 1998, 27-40.
'"A Worthy Feeling Gentleman"; Samuel Hitch at Gloucester Asylum, 1828 - 1846', in H.Freeman and G. Berrios (ed.), 150 Years of British Psychiatry, Vol. II, the Aftermath, London: Athlone, 1996, 479-499.
'The Pauper Lunatic Problem in the West Midlands, 1815 - 1850, Midland History 21, 1996, 101-118.
'"Levelled to the Same Common Standard?"; Social Class in the Lunatic Asylum, 1780 - 1860', in O. Ashton, R. Fyson, and S. Roberts (ed.), The Duty of Discontent; Essays for Dorothy Thompson. London, Mansell, 1995, 142-166.
'The "Great Experiment"; The Place of Lincoln in the History of Psychiatry', Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 30, 1995, 55-62.
'Close Confinement in a Mighty Prison; Thomas Bakewell's Campaign Against Public Asylums, 1815 - 1830', History of Psychiatry 5, 1995, 191-214.
'To Cure those Afflicted With the Disease of Insanity; Thomas Bakewell and Spring Vale Asylum', History of Psychiatry 4, 1993, 107-27.
'Duddeston Hall and the Trade in Lunacy, 1835 - 1865', The Birmingham Historian 8, 1992, 16-22.
'Eighteenth Century Madhouse Practice; the Prouds of Bilston', History of Psychiatry 3, 1992, 45-52.
'Behind Closed Doors; Lunatic Asylum Keepers, 1800 - 1860', Social History of Medicine 1, 1988, 301-27.
'Industrial Organization in the Kidderminster Carpet Trade, 1780 - 1850', Textile History 15, 1984, 75-100.