The first Victorian Turkish bath
was built in Dr Barter's Hydro in Ireland; its
popularity with his patients led most other hydros to follow suit by installing
their own Turkish baths. But what of the hydros themselves?
So far as Scotland is concerned, we can now
enjoyably learn more about them.
'Taking the waters' is a long established
form of cure throughout Europe. But, in the early 1840s, a new system of water
treatment, called hydropathy, which involved baths, showers and sheets, arrived
in Britain, and nowhere did it take stronger root than in Scotland. The appeal
of its curative regime to middle class society was enhanced by firm emphasis on
temperance, and the hydros became the place for respectable holidays. This study
examines the enthusiasts and practioners who ran the hydros, the personnel and
patients, the visitors and the guests, and looks at why the Scottish hydros were
so successful whereas the Scottish spas faded.
Water is best is an extremely readable and witty account of the
hydropathic establishments of Scotland which cannot fail to
please those who wish to complement their interest in Turkish
Published by John Donald in
This page first published