The first Pump Room talk will take place on Sunday 24 July at 10.30am. Dr Jane Adams talk on ‘Healing with water 1780-1960: Buxton spa in national context’ will explore how changing ideas and practices associated with healing with water influenced the development of facilities at Buxton from the late eighteenth to the mid- twentieth century. To book your free place please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Significant development in bathing infrastructure transformed the ways the natural spa waters were used. Late-nineteenth century publicity for the spa advertised over 100 different medical treatments with baths given at various water temperatures and in different media including wet bandages, wraps, peat, mud, light and heat. Massage and exercise were also used to treat patients taking the cure at Buxton.
In the 1780s the construction of the Crescent and improvements to the Natural Baths increased the accommodation and spa facilities available for visitors and patients. The design and construction of the Hot Baths complex in the 1850s reflected trends towards greater privacy and segregation by gender and social class. The opening of the Devonshire Hospital offered treatments for the working classes from the surrounding areas, paid for by their local poor law organisations or other charitable bodies.
In the 1880s and 1890s Buxton doctors led the movement to create a new medical specialty of balneology and hydrotherapy. One notable leader was Samuel Hyde, owner of the Peak Hydro, now the premises of Buxton Museum. Their work emphasised the value of spa treatment for a wide range of conditions, including rheumatism, cardiac disease, digestive complaints and nervous disorders. Buxton became known as one of the premier medical spas in the country, one of only seven which formed the British Spa Federation in 1918.
In 1948 the National Health Service (NHS) funded spa treatments at Buxton and the other major spas. However changing medical ideas, new treatments and financial pressures brought funding reductions which led to the closure of the Natural and Hot Baths by the 1960s. Water treatments continued to be provided at the Devonshire Hospital until 2000. Join us on Sunday 24 July in the Pump Room to discover more about this fascinating subject and the plans for the future of water and spa treatments in the Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa.