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A bunch of baths books:

some of the better books on baths
published during the life of this website

1913: Design of the Turkish bath / Cosgrave     2003: Turkish baths / Yılmazkaya
2004: Cathedrals of the flesh / Brue     2004: Victoria Baths / Williams
2005: Hammams / Meunier     You are here
2010: Hammaming in the Sham / Boggs

Scottish hydropathic establishments  You can print this page -- Click for printer-friendly version

Water is best

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.

Alastair Durie's 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 baths.

Durie, Alastair, J Water is best: the hydros and health tourism in Scotland, 1840-1940 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2006)

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