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Forum Home > Beliefs and other Oddities. > The Saltwell Brine Baths.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404



Now to be totally honest, the title should read, " Saltwell Spa ", for it was here, in Saltwell Woods, that saline water bubbled to the surface in a series of springs. Unlike the famous Roman Spa at Bath, the water was a bit on the chilly side. Still, as Spa's go, it was much nearer than Droitwich or Malvern, and of course, it was much cheaper. The big disadvantage was that it was situated between Brierley Hill, Netherton, and Cradley Heath, not exactly a district renowned for it beauty, or indeed, it's genteel citizens.



Never mind, for over the years, with a bit of promotion, it did attract a great many, to sample the delights of a hot Brine Bath. Load knows the local inhabitants of Cradley Heath could all have done with a good hot bath. Pipes to supply the water were never in short supply either, because a short distance away, were the Sanitary Ware works of Doultons. The huge marlhole left, now forms part of the Saltwells Nature Reserve, which today, makes for a pleasent little outing, full of peace and quiet for those who require a short break from the speed of todays " rat race ". It's a bit of a mystery how people were inticed to the spot at times, for there were as many as 33 mines operating in the area as well. In the pictures I have included, it looks a fairly tranquil and rural place, proof that even back then, a good angle with a camera, can hide a lot of faults.



There also seems to have been some confusion about the name, an attempt perhaps to slightly re-create it away from the name of Netherton, or Cradley Heath. It was variously known as, Lady's Wood Spa, Cradley Spa, Pensnett Spa, as well as Saltwells Spa. Anything it would appear, other than mentioning the close proximity of any industry. Well, thats advertising for you, and if anyone can supply a bit more information, do let me know.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Quick as a flash it seems, we get a bit more information about these famous saline baths. ( see the post above ) From about 1820, they were owned by one Thomas Holloway, who called them,  " The Lady Wood Saline Spa ".  He offered the waters as a cure for all ills, both hot and cold baths being on his menu. Icluded, among the many who sought relief from their aches and pains, was reputed to be William Perry, aka The Tipton Slasher,  who, after a lifetime of bare knuckle boxing, must have been feeling the strain. Soaking yourself in a brine bath though, was not the only cure on offer it seems, for Thomas Holloway had a rival. In the same area, Vapour Baths were also being touted. In the 1830s, Holloway felt the need to take to print, and defend his Spa from the competition. When a n un-named female failed to be cured by his baths, his competitor loudly proclaimed the failure, meanwhile, saying his vapour baths would have been better. Holloway quickly came up with a Chemist who had analyzed his water, a Mr. I .T. Cooper,  ( who lived in London )  and while admitting that some cases would be un-curable, produced his own little gem. Claiming that a Mr Oxford, of Brettle Lane, who had suffered from the same complaint as the Lady, had been cured these past two years, by bathing and drinking the water. ( Not of course out of the recepticule he had just bathed in ) He also mentioned in his pamphlet, that Mr Oxford worked for Smith & Sons, at the pottery in Brettle Lane. and got in plug for his spa hotel as well. Devine Providence he suggested, had also helped a little in the cures effected at his Spa establishment, cures he claimed, that were an on going feature of the Lady Wood Saline Spa. Still. it lasted a long time, and was still running at the start of the great war in 1914, and maybe even beyond.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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