Hydrotherapy arrived in Britain in the 1840s to a fanfare of enthusiasm. It involved the application of water at varying temperatures, including steam to cure all sorts of diseases from rheumatism and constipation to (after WWI) shell-shock. Intrepid patients were dunked, drenched, douched, floated, wrapped in wet sheets, or leisurely submerged in peat baths. Buxton had an advantage with its naturally hot, mineral waters. But Hydros not only offered healing, they provided entertainment, scripture, dietary advice and long-term residency for anyone willing to pay. Join Melanie King who will set the scene with a 30-minute illustrated talk in the beautiful Grade II listed Pump Room.
The talk will be followed by a guided tour to locate some of Buxton’s hidden or, sadly, demolished Hydros where she will share the stories of some of the characters who were employed, visited or lived as permanent residents. One man in particular, Herbert Reginald Pomeroy (HRP), expanded his grandfather’s Buxton Hydro to become one of the biggest Hydros in Britain. We will begin the tour at the site.
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. 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, for Chatham House in the publications department, 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.