Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The evolution of the holiday, Lifeboat B, A few round and about pictures of Ramsgate Harbour

Two different days same walk, link to pictures http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/817L/id7.htm bit sleepy for some unaccountable reason, I can’t say I worked particularly hard, to be honest I spent a lot of the day researching the relationship of the development of the Thanet towns from 1750, because of the cure.

Something along the lines of around 1750 some London doctors discovered that if they had failed to cure most diseases with bleeding, mercury, quicksilver, purging and so on, then sending their patients of to the sea to drink seawater and be ducked under the sea by professional dunkers would cure almost anything.  

Because only the rich could afford this treatment and the Thanet towns were the most accessible from London by sailing hoy in the days before railways I think the seaside holiday developed out of watching rich friends and relatives being stripped and dunked.

Of course the poorer people would have gone for the same cure we have today, which is basically splashing around in the sea and drinking a bit of seawater.

I have put rings on the 1780s painting by Benjamin West of Ramsgate Sands to decode what is going on

 The orange one shows the observers with the telescopes, the blue one the wealthy patient and the green one the professional health workers, called dunkers.

Also one without rings

I also publish a guide book that was first published in 1763 to help people through the business, here is the link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/a_description_of_the_isle_of_thanet_1763.htm

And here is the link to the books that went out in the bookshop today http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/catch-22-in-bookshop.html


  1. ...the earliest account of 'skinny dipping'. I thought that back then exposing flesh was frowned upon. And so the Royal Seabathing Hospital came to the fore. Another interesting article.

  2. Not exactly David, you are thinking mainly of the Victorian era I think, i.e. from 1840 to 1900.

    I think there was a fairly strong puritan influence in England but not sure it included an attitude to nudity common people just took off their clothes and jumped in.

    Plenty written during the 1700s about the lower classes, mixed sexes, just stripping off for bathing, I think women of the higher social classes were encouraged to wear some sort of loose fitting garment.

    Gentlemen I think were expected to strip off, and against a background of trying to produce an act of parliament to stop men from riding in carriages because it was considered effeminate, all a bit hard to say.


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