Chapter

Invalids and entrepreneurs

Mark Harrison

in Medicine in an age of Commerce and Empire

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577736
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595196 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577736.003.0010
Invalids and entrepreneurs

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Chapter 9 explores the medical marketplace of early nineteenth‐century Britain, with particular reference to tropical invalids and others deemed to have similar complaints. The chapter focuses on the spa resort of Cheltenham which grew rapidly in the early nineteenth century to accommodate large numbers of invalids returning from the tropical colonies. Former colonial practitioners made a good living in the town and some became proprietors of spas. However, competition between them was intense because of the return of many military and naval practitioners to civilian life at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. For some observers, resorts such as Cheltenham epitomized all that was wrong with British society. They were seen as resorts for the feckless and lazy, and as the stamping‐ground of charlatans and quacks. However, they served a vital role in domesticating the Empire and offered hope to invalids returning from tropical service.

Keywords: Cheltenham; degeneration; entrepreneurs; invalids; mercury; professional rivalry; spas; therapeutics

Chapter.  7817 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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