Health giving properties

By Philip Dunn, artist

Brighton became fashionable as a health-giving resort in the mid eighteenth century and its population rose from approximately 2,000 in 1750 to over 65,000 in 1850.

Its fame was based on a book by Lewes Doctor, Richard Russell, who advocated the healthy effects of bathing in and drinking sea water. By the 1740s, Russell, who built a house on the Steine, was prescribing the sea-water cure in Brighton.

Some of his cures appear more revolting than the diseases they tried to treat - mixtures of crabs' eyes, coral, burnt sponge, vipers' flesh, cuttle fish bones, snails, tar and prepared wood lice. But Russell also advocated fresh air and exercise in the sea for ensuring healthy children.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.