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Revealing the hidden spa landscapes of Essex: establishing their place, process and legacy.

Cannell, Emma E (2021) Revealing the hidden spa landscapes of Essex: establishing their place, process and legacy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

The awareness of curative water is evident from pre-Roman history although its therapeutic use is often associated with the excesses of the Georgian period, a time when Essex mineral waters were gaining recognition for their alleged therapeutic properties. Physicians including Dr Martin Trinder (1783) regarded them as: “proper objects of congratulation”. By the early twentieth century, this reputation had diminished. Christy and Thresh (1910) estimated that there were twenty-two significant mineral springs located in Essex but were unable to describe the wells as fulsomely as Trinder, finding them: “wholly neglected and almost forgotten”. This research has evaluated the factors instrumental to the development of mineral springs within Europe, England and Essex between 1600 and 1900, examining why settlements including Bath succeeded while locations in Essex declined. The research demonstrated an evolving relationship between people, spa water and emerging designed landscape, transforming a significant vernacular feature into a commodity whose curative usage became increasingly exclusive. Well data sheets were produced, initially focussing on the Essex sites listed by Christy and Thresh and subsequently of leading English spa resorts examining both their chronological development and current condition. Research examined the evolution of the spa industry in both classical and post medieval Europe comparing it with the English model. Case study research indicated that spa landscapes are not homogenous in purpose leading to the formation of spa landscape typologies. The research examined the importance of Place Attachment Theory to spa landscapes, considering the theory and associated models to be lacking. A new model was created addressing the absence of historical perspective. Consideration was given to factors influencing the impediment of spa landscape development within Essex, particularly the popularity of sea bathing and dichotomy between private and local authority investment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spa Landscape, Place Attachment, Landscape Theory Model, Essex Landscape, Spa Typology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DAW Central Europe
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Depositing User: Emma Cannell
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 15:17
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 15:17
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31214

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