Changing patterns of the spa culture in Britain and Central Europe from the final decades of the 19th century
This study sets out to test the hypotheses that during the selected period from the closing decades of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century and within the defined compared areas of Britain and Central Europe, specific differences can be traced in the Spa cultures of the two areas. These differences show arise in Spa culture in both areas at the beginning of the period, followed by a decline in Britain and by a period of stability in Central Europe. The reasons for these differences are shown to be partly due to geographical factors such as the landlocked situation of Central Europe as opposed to the island status of Britain as well as aspects of medical, allopathic progress in Britain which is not echoed in Central Europe where alternative cures still continued for socio-economic and traditional reasons. The study is based upon extensive fieldwork and establishes some key aspects for the success of a Spa and of Spa culture in the past, the present and the future. These aspects are found to be present in established Central European Spas and also to be feasible for the re-development of British Spas which are now in a state of decline. The study also development attempts to establish a semantic definition of the terms Spa and Spa culture and to relate this terminology to social and leisure factors and built environment usage of the terms whilst accepting the mutability of linguistic terminology and use.