The Scarborough Guide.

By Dr Belcolme

Printed: 1818

Publisher: W Ainsworth. London

Edition: Fifth edition

Dimensions 12 × 18 × 1.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 12 x 18 x 1.5


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Beige cloth spine with white title plate and black title. Green boards.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

A most rare book with historic significance

The Scarborough Guide, containing an accurate description of the town, the castle, and the environs; Dr. Belcombe’s observations on the spaw waters and sea-bathing, etc. With a map.

Scarborough, the jewel in the crown of Yorkshire’s seaside resorts, has been
welcoming visitors since the 17th century, but as pictures from its holidaymaking heyday bear witness, it was the coming of the railway from York that made it accessible to almost everyone. The discovery of mineral waters in the early 1700s and the installation of the first spa houses had fuelled Scarborough’s claim to be England’s first true seaside resort. But the first such building was washed into the sea – and in the end it was entertainment, not health, on which prosperity was built. By the turn of the last century most of the great music hall stars had come north to the new Spa, whose Victorian buildings still stand. Today the rejuvenated Open-Air Theatre has made it a show business hub once more.
The therapeutic use of water has been recorded in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens. Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness. Other cultures noted for a long history of hydrotherapy include China and Japan, the latter being centred primarily around Japanese hot springs. Many such histories predate the Roman
thermae. Hydrotherapy became more prominent following the growth and development of modern medical practices in the 18th and 19th century. As traditional medical practice became increasingly professional in terms of how doctors
operated, it was felt that medical treatment became increasingly less personalized, the development of hydrotherapy was believed to be a more personal form of medical treatment that did not necessarily present to patients the alienating scientific language that modern developments of medical treatment entailed. Two English works on the medical uses of water were published in the 18th century that inaugurated the new fashion for hydrotherapy. One of these was by Sir John Floyer, a physician of Lichfield, who, struck by the remedial use of certain springs by the neighbouring peasantry, investigated the history of cold bathing and published a book on the subject in 1702. The book ran through six editions within a few years and the translation of this book into German was largely drawn upon by Dr J. S. Hahn of Silesia as the basis for his book called On the Healing Virtues of Cold Water, Inwardly and Outwardly Applied, as Proved by Experience, published in 1738. The other work was a 1797 publication by Dr James Currie of Liverpool on the
use of hot and cold water in the treatment of fever and other illness, with a fourth edition published in 1805, not long before his death. It was also translated into German by Michaelis (1801) and Hegewisch (1807). It was highly popular and first placed the subject on a scientific basis. Hahn’s writings had meanwhile created much enthusiasm among his countrymen, societies having been formed everywhere to promote the medicinal and dietetic use of water; and in 1804 Professor E.F.C. Oertel of Anspach republished them and quickened the popular movement by unqualified commendation of water drinking as a remedy for all diseases. The general idea behind hydropathy during the 1800s was to be able to induce something called a crisis. The thinking was that water invaded any cracks, wounds, or imperfections in the skin, which were filled with impure fluids. Health was considered to be the natural state of the body, and filling these spaces with pure water, would flush the impurities out, which would rise to the surface of the skin, producing pus. The event of this pus emerging was called a crisis and was achieved through a multitude of methods. These methods
included techniques such as sweating, the plunging bath, the half bath, the head bath, the sitting bath, and the douche bath. All of these were ways to gently expose the patient to cold water in different ways. The growth of hydrotherapy, and various forms of hydropathic establishments, resulted in a form of tourism, both in the UK, and in Europe. At least one book listed English, Scottish, Irish and European establishments suitable for each specific malady, while another focused primarily on German spas and hydropathic establishments but including other areas. While many bathing establishments were open all year round, doctors advised patients not to go before May, "nor to remain after October. English visitors rather prefer cold weather, and they often arrive for the baths in May, and return again in
September. Americans come during the whole season but prefer summer. The most fashionable and crowded time is during July and August". In Europe, interest in various forms of hydrotherapy and spa tourism continued unabated through the 19th century and into the 20th century, where ‘in France, Italy and Germany, several million people spend time each year at a spa.’ In 1891, when Mark Twain toured Europe and discovered that a bath of spring water at Aix-les-Bains soothed his rheumatism, he described the experience as ‘so enjoyable that if I hadn’t had a disease I would have borrowed one just to have a pretext for going on’.
This was not the first time such forms of spa tourism had been popular in Europe and the U.K. Indeed, in Europe, the application of water in the treatment of fevers and other maladies had, since the seventeenth century, been consistently promoted by a number of medical writers. In the eighteenth century, taking to the waters became a fashionable pastime for the wealthy classes who decamped to resorts around Britain and Europe to cure the ills of over-consumption. In the
main, treatment in the heyday of the British spa consisted of sense and sociability: promenading, bathing, and the repetitive quaffing of foul-tasting mineral waters. A hydropathic establishment is a place where people receive hydropathic treatment. They are commonly built in spa towns, where mineral-rich or hot water occurs naturally.
Several hydropathic institutions wholly transferred their operations away from therapeutic purposes to become tourist hotels in the late 20th century whilst retaining the name ‘Hydro’. There are several prominent examples in Scotland at Crieff, Peebles and Seamill amongst others.

Condition notes

Binding a bit dull

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