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Citizens, then assembled around her august person, in language more vigorous than courtly, that her royal nose was offended by a “stink,” there has been a gradual improvement in the bathing establishment, and in the therapeutic application of the waters. •Fluctuations and sometimes apparent retrogression have occurred, and whenever this has been so, it has invariably resulted from the disgraceful neglect by the citizens of the precious elements committed to their care and keeping. What the citizens were, so were their local rulers. When the former became careless and indifferent, the latter became corrupt.
The corruption and jobbery in former times would be a curious chapter in Bath history to read, but not a pleasant one to write. We have recently, in our History of St. John's Hospital, waded through a pool of corruption, and although we at last got into a purer stream and landed on a pleasant shore, we do not care to renew the experience in quest of similar knowledge of good and evil. One most pleasant fact will be apparent to everyone who cares to read the chronicles of our Bath Waters, and that is, the number of eminent, honest, quaint, old physicians who have flourished in connection with the Waters from the time of Sherwood, primus, of the Abbey House, at the close of the 16th century, down to the time of the all-accomplished Dr. Harington,” of the
1 Her Majesty did not mince matters when plain language was needed. Her use of the vernacular was occasionally rather shocking. Who does not remember an instance of this in the language imputed to her by Scott in Kenilworth? “And now, I trust, Master Tressilian, this matter is ended,” said the Queen. “We will do something ere the night is older to reconcile old Sir Hugh Robsart to the match. You have done your duty something more than nobly ; but we are no woman had we not compassion for the wounds which true love deals ; so we forgive your audacity, and your uncleansed boots withal, which have well-nigh overpowered my Lord of Leicester's perfumes.”
2 The line is drawn at Dr. Harington, whose eminence, personal and professional, marked an almost distinct period in our local medical annals. He died in 1826, a period too remote from the present to risk any invidious feeling of the profession in our thus referring to him. 'It would be unjust to the memory of Dr. Randle Wilbraham Falconer, not to mention that he had long advocated the “ Continental” system as an indispensable subsidiary to our ordinary practice and methods, and a portion of the appliances was provided at his instigation in the Royal Baths, but removed through the opposition of the profession,
eighteenth and nineteenth. Now, during this long period, we believe we are right in stating that not a single effort has at any time been made to enter into competition with foreign baths' in regard to the means they have adopted in their various systems of manipulation, in addition to or in connection with the Waters, in the diminution of human suffering and the cure of disease. This has now conie to an end, and it has been reserved to the present generation to witness the fact, that, instead of “the waters having seen their best days,” the “Baths of Bath” have made such progress, that within the past quarter of a century the establishment has more than doubled, and that the latest addition is a series of Baths of the Aix-les-Bains class, which will vie with those famous Batlıs in completeness, luxury, and perfection of manipulatory appliances. And for this we have to thank the public spirit of the Corporation, encouraged and sanctioned by the citizens, and very ably carried out by the city architect.
The system of continental treatment to which we have referred is in connection with the baths, known as the King's and Queen's Baths. It will constitute an entirely new department, the approach to which will be from the old circular lobby by a curved corridor leading into a cooling room, 42 feet long by 16 feet wide, lighted from the top. Out of this there are two baths for the process known as the Aix-les-Bains Douche, 14 feet by 10 feet each, having two dressing-rooms attached, so that bathers will not have so long to wait as in the old arrangement, when there was only one dressing-room attached to each bath. Also from this cooling room leads the Berthold Vapour Bath, 15 feet by 11 feet, having two dressing-rooms attached, lighted above. Also an Inhalation
room, 20 feet by 19 feet ; a Pulverization room, 18 feet by 19 feet. These rooms are lighted high up under arched ceilings, and are tiled round, having handsome Roman Tesseræ as flooring. The fittings and appointments are luxurious. A staircase leads from a corridor out of this large cooling room, down to the excavations of the old Roman baths, the covering over of which has been the subject of so much angry discussion. From this last-named Corridor there are four new Reclining Baths, each about 10 feet square, and a Wildbad Bath of approximating dimensions, and also two deep Baths, approached by steps similar to those in the Royal Baths attached to the Grand Pump Room Hotel. There are also the necessary rooms for attendants, as well as closets and lavatories.
We cannot pretend to admire the building which constitutes the new wing to the Pump-room and bathing establishment. It is not because we object to the modern Renascence so much in itself as we do to its adoption in the position the edifice occupies. The man of taste who looks for an instant at the west front of Baldwin's Pump-room, and then casts his eye upon the new work, cannot resist a feeling of intense disappointment. The former is a fine example of classic dignity and noble proportions; the latter suffers fatally by comparison. If two buildings in juxtaposition, for any reason whatever, are not in harmony in regard to style, at least the contrast should be pleasing and effective.
Dr. Oliver had suggested, in a Tract on the Bath Waters, published in 1704, that taking cold after drinking them might be attended with the most fatal effects; and that in bad weather, therefore, the drinkers were obliged either to forego that exercise which is absolutely necessary after taking them internally, or to run the risk of exposing themselves to the dangerous disorders arising from catching cold. This inconvenience the Corporation determined to remedy by building a Pump-House or Pump-Room, in which the invalids might be supplied with water from a covered pump (for before they drank it in the open air), and afterwards take the exercise prescribed to them, sheltered from the inclemency of the weather. The work was accordingly begun in 1704, finished two years afterwards, and opened for the reception of the company under the auspices of Mr. Nash, who had just then become the Arbiter Elegantiarum of Bath. The event was celebrated with a procession and musical fête, and the performance of the following solemn and sublime bathos :
“GREAT BLADUD, born a Sov’reign Prince,
His dire disease to shun;
Great BLADUD did return.
This glorious Prince of royal race,
Where beauty holds her reign;
To BLADUD's mem'ry let us join,
His glory to maintain.
While music sounds his praise ;
And fame his glory raise.
And fate no more did frown ;
And wear th' imperial crown.
As ancient stories tell ;
He down expiring fell."
In 1751 this room was enlarged, and again in 1781. In 1796, the present edifice was built under the direction of Mr. Baldwin,' the City Architect. It is situated in the Abbey Yard, adjoining the King's and Queen's Public and Private Baths. The architecture is Corinthian ; in length it is eighty
* It is not quite clear when the building was began. Baldwin's official connection with the rporation occurred in 1791. In 1794, he was superseded for some reason which is not made clear, and John Palmer furnished plans for its completion. It is almost certain that Palmer (who was an able man, but not an architect at all), worked upon Baldwin's lines, whose characteristic genius is manifest in every part and detail. Ten years before this Baldwin built the piazza, and of its merits there is, and can be, but oue opinion.