Online Talk: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the English Spa

With Melanie King

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the English Spa with Melanie King

Set the heating on to 'boost', (or throw another coal on the fire if you're of a more historical bent) curl up on the sofa and join us for our first online talk of the winter season. Author Melanie King will have us dreaming of warmer times as she takes us on a journey through the history of English Spas. The English have always been obsessed with bathing. Archaeologists recently discovered that Britons were luxuriating in baths long before the Romans arrived in 43 AD. English bathing culture over the centuries was was riotous, salacious, and sometimes devoted to treatments that did more harm than good, for instance drinking pints of spa water in which diseased bathers had recently swum. These spas were frequented by everyone from royalty (such as Queen Anne, who sought relief from gout at Bath) to the poor of Harrogate who, after partaking of the sulphurous waters, added diarrhoea to their miseries. This talk is a romp through the centuries telling the extraordinary story of English spa from their origins through to their reinvention in the twenty-first century as beauty and wellness resorts.

About Melanie…

Melanie King is a writer of historical non-fiction who has published eight books. Her latest book The Secret History of English Spas was released September 2021. She is an experienced speaker, and her passion is to make history come alive.

Melanie graduated with a degree in International Relations from Sussex University with three aims: to travel the world, become a journalist, and help people’. Over the years she achieved her goals. She travelled alone through India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, the United States and Europe. She also worked in Bangkok as a staff writer for the Nation an English-language newspaper, in Brussels with Eurocrats, in London with refugees and victims of torture, and on a horse farm in Australia.

Thirty years and many careers later, Melanie earns a living as a writer and speaker and makes sure that there is always at least one factoid, strange, but true, that you take away.


This is an online talk. You will be emailed a link to the online presentation space and instructions for joining the talk in advance of the event. We politely ask that you refrain from sharing the link with other non-ticket holders unless by prior arrangement. For more details please email Call: 01298 214577


You can book tickets for this event online (via the link above) or in person at the Buxton Visitor Centre in the Pump Room. Details of how to log on to the event will be sent to ticket holders on the week of the event. If you would like to book a free group ticket for a High Peak residential or nursing home (and you haven't heard from us yet) please email us at


Wednesday 8th December Log on from 6.45pm Welcome at 7pm Talk at 7.05pm The talk will last around 45 minutes, and there will be time for questions and discussion at the end. We aim to finish by 8pm.


£5 full price adult tickets Free for friends of Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust £3 concessions - 65+ / Full time student / / in receipt of benefits £10 for all three winter online talks - December, January and February - (buy two get one free!) only available until Wednesday 8th December.


We will do our best to make the presentation accessible by sharing illustrated examples and using subtitles during presentations (where possible). We recommend viewing the talk on a desktop computer or large screen for best results.

Any Questions?

If you need to know more, or have a question, please feel free to get in touch...

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