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Title: Spas and seaside resorts in Kent, 1660-1820
Author: Johnson, Rachael May
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis offers a new approach to the study of long eighteenth-century watering places that combines the precise study of locality with a careful consideration of motivation. Looking at spas and seaside resorts in Kent between 1660 and 1820, the county hierarchy of watering places will be used to argue for the complexity and diversity of the visitor experience. The aim, therefore, will not be to offer a traditional narrative of resort development. Instead, it will explore the use of spas and seaside resorts across a wide range of intersecting axes, focusing on the social, cultural and medical aspects of resort life and considering in particular Margate and Tunbridge Wells as urban and leisure centres. Comparing resorts with national, regional and local catchment areas and exploring the development of watering places across time and between resort typologies, this thesis will look at Kent’s spas and seaside resorts as marriage markets, feminine arenas, centres for polite society, and places in which to be seen indulging in fashionable leisure and pleasure, showing how they reacted to and actively influenced a changing social order. Challenging portrayals of the water cure as an excuse used to justify the pursuit of pleasure and drawing on emerging discourses on fashionable illness, this thesis will argue for the importance of mineral and sea waters as a medical treatment during a period when few effective medicines existed that could treat the vast majority of afflictions. Thus by combining the study of locality with a recognition of the diversity of the visitor experience, this thesis will show how Kent’s watering places not only played an important role as social, cultural and medical arenas but also how they helped visitors navigate some of the most important areas of their lives.
Supervisor: Chartres, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available