DR. GRANVILLE ' S SPAS OF ENGLAND.
IN the summer and autumn of 1839, Dr. GEANVILLE set forth on a tour through England to examine its Spas—their prospects with his eyes, their accommodations by his experience, their prices by his pocket, and their waters by his taste, et cetera. In pursuit of his object, he adopted every mode of conveyance—coach, chaise, gig, and railroad ; so as to be able to ascertain the locomotion best adapted for an individual patient to reach a particular spa. During his first excursion, he visited the Northern Spas, writ- ing his book as he rode along ; but when he reached London the publishing-season was over; and though he printed his vo- lume, it was not published, but (apparently) delayed till he col- lected matter for the second, now on the anvil. Dr. GRAN-. VILLE seems to attach importance to these facts because changes may have taken place at some of the Spas between the time he wrote and the period of publication ; and be also claims credit for being the first to denounce the neglect of railway-man-, agers,—especially of the Birmingham, (which he threatened with vengeance for overcharging him) : but, after collecting together all probable and possible evils, without discriminating between those which are caused by neglect and those that arise from accident or nature, Dr. GRANVILLE, through a curious typographical error, winds up his philippic by "pointing out the many glaring defects in the management of the Grand Junction."
The volume before us embraces only the Northern Spas, York- shire being the most Southerly county treated of. The Spas them- selves are of two classes—those which are well known, as Harro- gate and Scarborough ; and those which have a provincial or district celebrity only, or were hardly known at all until Dr. GRANVILLE visited them. In his account of places, great or little, the author pursues a similar, and upon the whole a judicious plan. He num- bers and sketches the wells, describing the flavour and temperature of the water, indicating generally the complaints it has cured or is likely to cure, but reserving the chemical analysis for an appendix. He gives an account of house-rent and lodgings, the prices of pro- visions, the charges of hotels and boarding-houses, with the class of company usually found there ; tells of the various amusements provided in the watering-place itself, and carries the reader along with him to the different places in the neighbourhood worth seeing for their beauty or curiosity. To this extent The Spas of England is a general guide-book, with a useful object, and of a rather superior kind ; but it also par- takes of the characteristics of a tour, Dr. GRANVILLE giving an ac- count of his journey from one point to another, which often forms one of the most interesting parts of his book. The facilities of locomotion to every part of the country—the rapid pace at which improvements are advancing—and the gigantic undertakings, no sooner projected than undertaken, and half finished before our an- cestors would have staked out the work—are strikingly, though in- cidentally, impressed upon the reader. Here and there, however, is met some place which seems to defy the march of every thing but Mammon ; and such a place is
Of all the rising manufacturing towns in the North, Preston is probably the only one which has contrived to add to its population, its wealth, and its factories, to a very considerable extent, without at the same time having made any cor- responding advances in civilization, cleanliness, and ameliorations in the mate- rial part of the city. Its streets are as narrow and as crooked and as dirty as ever. Very few of its shops, even in Fishergate, the Regent Street of the place, exhibit any appearance of improvement from what they must have been thirty years ago. It possesses no public building, not even a market ; and on every Saturday evening the butchers' shambles, and other sheds for the display of every marketable commodity, are set up in a line on one side of the very street just named, nearly to its whole extent, causing filth, confusion, and inconvenience.
It will hardly be believed that there exists no such thing as a public or any other bath, hot or cold, in Preston. There are two ordinary news-rooms in the place—the one a little more aristocratic than the other; yet even the latter is very unworthy of the wealthy people who subscribe to it. Preston, I repeat it, is fifty years in arrear of the progress of all modern manufacturing towns in England, in the conveniences, the comforts, and the embellishments of life ; nay, it is a hundred years in arrear of the steady and somewhat surprising progress of its own manufactures. It is a place slow in improving, and seems to consist only of people intent on amassing wealth by commerce, manufacture, and speculation. It would take half a century of steady good-will, and a considerable expenditure of money, to make Preston what Manchester, Halifax, Bradford, Wakefield, or even Huddersfield, are and have been for a long time.
And yet, to judge from a little episode in the daily routine of the place, to which I was a witness in the green-market, one would feel disposed to con- sider the Prestonians an intellectual people. A licensed hawker having ad- vertised the importation and intended sale of tbree thousand volumes of cheap books, had been so successful in his operation, which was carried on in the open market-place, that he felt it necessary to apologize to "the reading public" because his large stock had been exhausted a day sooner than he had antici- pated. He promised, at the same time, the literati of Preston, to return soon with a still more splendid supply for their accommodation.
The general object of the book is highly praiseworthy ; for its effect, so far as it operates, is to call attention to the medical virtues of our mineral springs, and, by sending patients to them, to make persons acquainted with their own country instead of wan- dering abroad. The literary merit of The Spas of England is a pleasant, rambling, gossipy vein which, like the style of an agree- able talker, amuses the mind, though much of what ia Said pallSell
away without leaving any impression. Its defects are attributable to want of selection : the subject is sometimes overlaid, and some- times it was not worth mention.
Those who wish to gather information touching the curative in- fluence of the waters, must consult Dr. GRANVILLE'S book—or, we suppose, the Doctor himself; for the air and water suitable to one disorder may be injurious to another. And we incline to sus- pect that a wrong spa will do more harm than a right one will do good; the curative influence of watering-places springing less, per- haps, from their medical effects than from change of air, change of scene, absence of business, and early hours, operating upon a system that has been already cleansed by medicine—and, a satirist would add, the absence of the doctor. But, as a mere temporary sojourn, without regard to morning-draughts, Scarborough bears the bell over all the other spas. The scenery is grander, the environs equally good ; and it has the sea in addition. It is, too—or perhaps was—a cheap place, compared with dull Harrogate, and many other inland spas. Here is the first greeting of Dr. GRANVILLE after descending from the mail at the Bell. "I know not whether to attribute the feeling I experienced on my first arrival at Scarborough to the exciting nature of the air into which !found my- self suddenly plunged, when the mail pulled up at that most intricate turn in front of the Bell,' or to the sight of the glorious ocean, or to the appearance of sundry eatables spread on the well-decked table of that inn. But to which- ever of these causes it may be owing, that feeling was one of inward content- ment, accompanied by a buoyancy of spirits such as I had not lately enjoyed.
"Unquestionably, the being admitted to the privilege of sitting down at once with three or four merry persons, and a lady or two to boot, at a table where I was presently helped with all the good things of this world, after an
early morning drive of three or four hours, with unfreighted stomach,' was likely to put in good humour even the crossest-tempered fellow alive ; and perhaps that had its influence in the present instance. Bread good, and good- looking ; excellent tea, tea-cakes, muffins, and new-laid eggs, would satisfy any reasonable bachelor at a London club-house. But what if he found within his reach at the same table, apiece de resistance of cold beef, and raised pies, and shrimps, and potted and marinaded fish of many kinds, to satisfy wherewith either his hunger or his whim ! "And yet such things, and such a breakfast, are to be found at Scarborough, not only at the Bell Inn, but at many other hotels ; and they constitute one only of the four daily repasts which honest and civil Master Webb (and I heard that other landlords do the same) gives you at nine, twelve, four, and eight o'clock p.m., at his ordinary on Bland's Cliff; for the sum of six shillings per diem, including lodging !"
The influence of first impressions is proverbial ; and perhaps the breakfast at the Bell had an enduring effect upon the Doctor in his judgment on
I am enchanted with Scarborough. And who would not be who has so- journed but a single day at this "Queen" of English sea-bathing places, at the close of the summer-months, or in the early days of a bright autumn ? To we Scarborough was a surprise, to the full extent of the word. I was not pre- pared to find a Bay of Naples on the North-east coast of England ; nor so pic- turesque a place perched on lofty cliffs, reminding an old and experienced traveller of some of those romantic sea-views which he beheld abroad, particit- iiy hi and Grecian seas. * * * *
Scarborough is, perhaps, one of the most interesting marine spas in England. It combines the advantages of mineral springs with those of a convenient and luxurious sea-bathing shore. It is surrounded on the laud side by numerous objects of attraction, to which either roads or footpaths, over moors and dales, like radii from a centre, offer a ready access to the visiters. Some of those ob- jects, indeed, have acquired well-merited reputation. In modern architecture, enriched and heightened by extensive gardens, plantations, and Arcadian groves, there is Castle Howard, which the visiter will perceive on the right of the high-road immediately beyond Melton. In ancient structure Rivaulx Abbey, which is supposed to have been the first Cistercian monastery founded in Yorkshire, presents ruins of considerable ex- tent, more perfect than those of most of the same class of monastic buildings in the county, Fountain Abbey excepted.
In natural phsenomena we have the strongly-marked geological formation of the coast right and left of Scarborough, with its cavern and promontories—its clefts, its dislocations, and its elevations—all sufficiently denuded to exhibit a very museum to the lover of geology. From Robin Hood's Bay northward, to the Flamborough Head southward, a distance of thirty-three miles of coast, every inch of the land, which may be inspected at low-water over a course of the finest sands in England, is pregnant with interest.
PRICES AT SCARBOROUGH.
Living on the whole is somewhat cheaper at Scarborough than in London, and certainly not so extravagant as at Harrogate. From inquiry of an excel- lent manager, the mother of a large family, I learned that the prime pieces of meat, with all bones removed, cost but eightpence per pound ; that poultry, eggs, and butter, are one-fourth cheaper than in London ; and that a fair-sized cod-fish may be had for one shilling, or a pair of the largest soles for that sum. Bread and milk are tolerable, and water is excellent—rather hard, but well. flavoured and limpid. Water and bread ! These are no trifling comforts at a spa ; and though they may appear trite in their nature to Some people, yet the enumeration of them will have its value with a large majority of my readers. House-room, whether in the form of lodgings or of separate houses, is not to be procured good at a very cheap rate. The average rent for the latter is ten guineas a week. A large house near the cliff-bridge lets for thirteen guineas during the season, which is reckoned to begin on the 1st July and to termi- nate on the 12th October. After the latter date, house-rent falls to one- half its former amount. Lodging and boarding houses are of three classes ; and at all of them four meals are allowed. The respective prices are 48. Gd., 5s. 6d., and 68. 6d per day, including a bedroom. We are afraid this is too good to last, and that the visitants Dr. GRANVILLE'S book will send to Scarborough may induce the usual result, an increase of price. At Harrogate, a dull inland place, these bad results have been reached already.
HOTELS AT HARROGATE.
At an hotel, the ordinary charge for lodging and board at the public table is two guineas and a half a week, with halt-a-guinea more for the servants of the house, whom you are cease to employ. If you have a servant of your own in livery, then the charge is three shillings and sixpence per day extra; besides 'which, there is a tax of three shillings a week for wax-lights.
All this together, makings total of either three pounds six shillings without a servant, or five pounds per week with one, is bearable for one or two persons; but let a chef and his lady, like some friends 1 knew itrone of the principal
private houses, with three young ladies and three servants, take up his residence. at the Granby, for example, and a sum of not less than twenty guineas a week would have been required, even though using the public-rooms, without being either so comfortable or so independent as in a private house,—a great con- sideration, by the by, where four ladies, three of them young and one an invalid, are concerned.
Still fashion, for the higher classes of people, wills it that they shall live at the principal hotels ; and to them accordingly they proceed ; though few of these illustrious remain the usual period of time necessary for a successful treatment by mineral waters.
The state of things has given immense importance to the hotel-keepers : and in that respect Harrogate is something like Baden-Baden. These gentry are, in good troth, the lords of the place at present. What does not suit them, that must not be ; and in the pursuit of this object each pulls his own way, and cares not what becomes of the rest. They go so far as to command (for it's a threat in the shape of a request) the closing of the hospital, as before stated, during the season, lest the sight of the poor lepers, and still more so the use they make of the sulphur-water out of the upper or bog-wells as they are called, should interfere with their own establishment of baths and invalids.
We had marked several other passages of a more general kind for extract, but must refer the reader to the volume, after quoting- one hint to people at spas.
ABROAD AND AT HOME.
One concluding remark on a further cause of the progressive decay of some of the English spas, before I have done. It refers to the exorbitance of the charges, and consequently to the enormous expense which families of the middle classes have to encounter at these places of public resort, when they desire to live according to their station in society, at some of the principal hotels. I have alluded, in treating of Harrogate, to the weekly expense of gentleman and his lady, with three daughters, and two men and a woman ser- vant, who while living at one of the principal hotels at that spa, and using the public rooms, was disbursing seldom less than twenty guineas a week ; and had he desired a private sitting-room, the charge would have been three guineas more.
Now mark the difference in this respect at the Spas in Germany. The same number of persons would have been magnificently lodged and sumptuously fed in the New Hotel at Wildbad, called the Bellevue, (which has started into existence since my first commendation of that spa, and is one of the most showy and comfortable establishments of that kind in Germany, and much to be recommended,) for 189 florMs a week, including every possible expense for master and servant, instead of 281, which are the representatives of twenty- three guineas. Again, a single gentleman, with a servant, who desires to pass his allotted time at the crack hotel of the Dragon, at Harrogate, must con- sent to pay five guineas a week, using a table d'hote and the public sitting- room. But at the same spa of Wildbad, in the comfortable hotel of Mine Herr Klumpp, I have known a dignitary of the church during the last season occupy an extremely neat room, with another for his valet, and to have two ex- cellent repasts, besides breakfast and the board of his domestic, for forty-five florMs, or one-third less than the charge at the English spa.