The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.378977, -2.367761

7 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

Bladud, the legendary 8th-century founder of Bath.

“Banished from the court because of leprosy, he became a swineherd. His pigs also contracted the disease but were cured after bathing in mud on this site, which Bladud himself decided to imitate. A cured man, he returned to the court and became king, and the Cross Bath became the one most favoured by nobility.”…

TerryF  •  Link

"Bath is a city in South West England most famous for its baths fed by three hot springs....It is also called Bath Spa.

"The city is founded on the only naturally-ocurring thermal spa in the United Kingdom. It was first documented as a Roman spa, although tradition suggests that it was founded earlier. The waters from its spring were believed to be a cure for many afflictions. From Elizabethan to Georgian times it was a resort city for the wealthy."

TerryF  •  Link

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Bladud or Blaiddyd was a mythical king of the Britons, for whose existence there is no historical evidence. He was first mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who described him as the son of King Rud Hud Hudibras or Rhun Paladr-fras, and the tenth ruler in line from the first King, Brutus. This idea may have been based on a misinterpreted scrap of Welsh genealogy...."…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The 1663 trips to Tunbridge and to Bath were trips made in an attempt to cure Catherine's infertility. It was believed that by taking the waters under a strict routine as her doctors advised, she might conceive. The original thought was that she go to Tunbridge and from there to the Waters of Bourbon, but since Bourbon was a longer and more expensive trip, one of the Royal physicians, Sir Alexander Fraser, "came to the rescue, and declared that he had analysed the Bourbon springs, when in attendance there with the Queen-mother, and found they exactly resembled those of Bath." (Davidson, p. 196). While in Bath, Charles II and Queen Catherine will be the guest of Dr. Pierce, who had a mansion known as Abbey House.

Grammont says that Catherine went to Bladud's spring in Bath. (see above)

Bath, Tunbridge, and Epsom were major tourist centers, and the Queen could expect a good deal of various entertainments in addition to soaking and doctors' consults.

The waters of Bath are the only naturally hot springs in the UK - known from Roman times. The water tastes fine if drunk when just drawn and hot, but lukewarm it's disgusting. In the 17th and 18th centuries, you bathed in the water every day for a cure, and also drank it every day.
The spa waters at Epsom, Tunbridge, Cheltenham, Buxton, Llandindrod et al were all cold. The waters discovered in Bristol come from the same source as the Bath ones, but (despite being hopefully called Hotwells) were only warm, as the water has to travel further to get to the surface.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I wonder if Royal physician Sir Alexander Fraser had read Dr. Tobias Venner’s (1577–1660) writings on the subject of healthy living in general, and in particular the advantages of thermal spas like Bath? Dr. Venner lived in Bath and enjoyed a comfortable life there: his medical practice and the sales of his books flourished. The books were:
• Via Recta ad Vitam Longam (1620)
• A brief and accurate treatise concerning the taking of the fume of tobacco (1621)
• The baths of Bath (1628)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The baths at Bath could cure people suffering from lead poisoning. A story from 1666:…

Since Roman times lead often made its way into alcohol, either from its makers using lead acetate to sweeten wine, or storing it in containers glazed with lead.

Physicians were familiar with lead poisoning. Many sent the afflicted to Bath for the springs, where mineral water burbles out of the ground at 120°F. Visitors flocked to the area to bathe in elaborate pools of healing waters, seeking cures for everything from leprosy to infertility.

While hot springs are relaxing, for the most part that’s all they are. But taking a long dip did improve one ailment: the paralysis that occurs from chronic lead intoxication.

Even in the Middle Ages, physicians knew that sitting in the waters of Bath could occasionally cure some types of paralysis. The water’s reputation for curing the malady was advertised by the town in a display of discarded crutches.

One victim, a reverend from Lincolnshire, came to Bath in 1666 unable to lift his arms. After bathing in Bath’s waters every day for almost two months, his doctor noted that the reverend was able to doff his hat in greeting once more.

The explanation is simple. After consuming lead, the human body mistakes it for calcium and uses it to build bone. Over time, the accumulated poison causes violent symptoms. Weightlessness, as it happens, increases calcium loss from bones. Floating for hours gradually strips both calcium and lead from the skeleton, which is then urinated away.

Those “taking the waters” followed a system. Patients trooped into the pools in the morning, as early as 5 a.m. (The water was cleanest in the morning.) The King’s and Queen’s Baths were often filled with invalids, and the nearby Pump Room doled out glasses of warm, mineral-rich water. Other baths included the glamorous Cross Bath and the straightforwardly named Hot Bath and Leper’s Bath. Bathers submerged up to their necks, layered in thick clothing for modesty (for many years, the baths were mixed-gender).

To amuse bored bathers, musicians played instruments and sang.

By the early-18th century, it was de rigueur for the elite to go to Bath, not only to seek healing for high-end illnesses such as gout, but also to enjoy the pleasures of “dances, balls, gambling sessions, concerts, and theatrical performances in the evening,” writes academic Ian C. Bradley.

At the same time, doctors at the Bath General Hospital were conducting the “trial of the waters.” In what was one of the first long-term medical therapy trials in history, doctors at the hospital treated poor paralysis victims with a regimen of fresh food and daily soaks. And it worked -- sometimes.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M: Descriptions of 17th-century Bath are in:
BM Lansdowne, 213, ff. 339+ [1634];
J. Childrey, Britannia Baconica (1661), pp. 32-3;
Mundy, iv. 7-8 [1639];
T. Guidott, Discourse of Bathe (1676), ch. xii;
James Yonge, Journal (ed. Poynter, pp. 183-4 [1681];
C. Fiennes, Journeys (ed. Morris), pp. 18+ [?1687].
Drawings by Schellinks (1662) are in Drawings of Engl. in 17th cent. (ed. P. H. Hulton, ii. pls 19 (general), 20 (King's Bath).
Cf. P. R. James, The baths of Bath in 16th & 17th centuries.

And a photo of the Roman Great Bath:…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.