Restoration Bath and the marketable medical spa waters, c.1660-1705

Camp, J.S (2019) Restoration Bath and the marketable medical spa waters, c.1660-1705. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


Bath in the late seventeenth century has received limited scholarly attention. Through examining the work of Dr Thomas Guidott and Dr Robert Peirce, this thesis re-examines how the city transformed between 1660 and 1705 into the fashionable health and leisure resort of the eighteenth century. The city's transformation was supplemented by spa literature written by physicians and natural philosophers who sought to market the mineral properties and medical efficacy of the waters. They exploited the wider debates between the old Galenical form of medicine and new chymical forms to market spa waters as the most superior treatment. Spa literature formed the backdrop to the competitiveness of spa towns, and typified the competitiveness of the wider medical marketplace. Practitioners competed for patients by arguing that they provided the best treatment and were the best value for money. This thesis broadens the discussion of the 'medical marketplace' model to practitioners of all levels (qualified and unqualified; licensed and unlicensed) to examine the complexity, diversity and external influences of the marketplace outside of London. Bath had an unusually high ratio of practitioners, which gave patients considerable choice. By analysing the patient case studies written by Guidott and Peirce, this thesis challenges the rhetoric of spa literature, historians' perceptions of the marketplace and the role of provincial physicians in the seventeenth century. It has been accepted by many historians that the city witnessed an 'urban renaissance' after 1660. However, how it transformed and what influenced this has yet to be fully examined. This thesis argues that after a political coup in 1661, the puritan control of the corporation was over-turned, and the city's economic focus shifted to capitalising on the waters. The corporation was factious, and disagreed on how to market the city and waters. By owning two-thirds of the city (including the bathing complex), members of the corporation set about semi-privatising the baths. As part of the marketing of the waters, Henry Chapman advertised the city as all-welcoming, religiously tolerant and charitable, to entice wealthy patients to the city. However, the reality was more complicated. Tolerance was only accepted by some members of the corporation when it was financially beneficial to the city and charity was limited to only a select few at the discretion of the corporation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Bath, spa towns, Europe, UK, 17th century, health tourism, leisure resorts, mineral water, physicians, marketing, patient case studies
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 16:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 16:15
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