Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not Grim Up North, Interlude: Drinking Seawater

[Originally posted on, in answer to a question there.]

Yes, they really did drink the seawater.

My chronology is a bit off; it's closer to 400 years, since 1626, when a Mrs. Farrow started advertising her mineral spring on the beach to the fashionable set. It was a bit later that a Dr. Whittie from Hull got the idea to advertise the SEA water as well as the spa water. For drinking. As a cleansing tonic to, uh, empty out the system.

He also advertised sea swimming, probably the first time where members of the public did this in an organized fashion, not monks mortifying their flesh. People used to think that getting wet was the worst thing that could happen to you.

By the end of the 1600s Scarborough was a full-fledged resort. According to John Grundy in Northern Pride, "for the first 100 years or so, through the 18th century, it seems to have gone on in the nude".

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