SPA MEDICINE

Patients, Practitioners and Treatments
in Stuart and Georgian Bath


Detail of John Fayrum's illustration of the Cross Bath, 1739.
(Image by courtesy of Bath in Time)

Synopsis

This is not a history of medical practice at Bath in the 'long eighteenth century' from 1660 to 1825 but an anthology of printed and manuscript material that conveys a vivid impression of illness and treatments at the time. It draws on all kinds of sources. These include patients' and doctors' own accounts of individual case histories, theories about the water cure, descriptions of spa facilities and medical charities, and advice on healthy living. Read here about goutiness and gangrene, drug-taking and exercise apparatus, Georgian dentistry and post mortem dissections, hospital statistics and smallpox epidemics, and just what it was like to steep in the hot baths. Listen to obscure poor patients speak out as well as famous names like Alexander Pope, Gainsborough, Garrick, Burke, Nelson, Jane Austen, Coleridge and Fanny Burney. Witness the rise of a more experimental approach to treatments, but add in a dose or two of contemporary satire and controversy as well. Though the extracts tell their own tale, they are here set in context by brief overviews of the mystique of the Bath waters, the various medical institutions, and the experience of both medical practitioners and patients.



Printed copies of this publication are not available, however it may be downloaded from here in pdf format, free of charge.


The author, Trevor Fawcett, may be contacted by email at:


Links

Bath in Time
Website containing historical images of Bath