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Taking the waters in Malvern
Water   Malvern water is famous throughout the world. The Queen drinks it and people still travel many miles to collect water from the springs on the hills.
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See our panoramic photos of all of the springs and wells on the Malvern Hills. Also we have a picture gallery of some of the best known.

The healing powers of Malvern water were first mentioned as far back as 1622 in Bannister's Breviary of the Eyes.

quote A little more I'll of their curing tell.
How they helped sore eyes
with a new found well.
Great speech of Malvern Hills
was late reported.
Unto which spring
people
in troops resorted.quote
Bannister's Breviary of the Eyes

Not the greatest piece of poetry perhaps but an early mention of what was probably Holy Well, the first pure water source on the hills.

The water was bottled and sent all over the country from as early as the reign of James the first.

Dr Nash in the 18th century quoted the lyrics of a song from that period.

quote A thousand bottles there were filled weekly
and many costrels* rare
for stomachs sickly.
Some of them into Kent,
some were to London sent,
others to Berwick went.
Oh Praise the Lord. quote
*Costrel=A portable container usually cylindrical or barrel shaped.
Traditional song


Taking the waters

The popularity of the water cure at Malvern owes much to two doctors who set up hydrotherapy centres in the area: Dr James Wilson and Doctor James Manby Gulley

Dr Wilson had first hand knowledge of the water cure practised by Vincent Priestnitz in Graefenburg.

Dr Gully, an Edinburgh graduate, had published a book on 'neuropathy' in 1837.

T
he first Water Cure establishment in Great Malvern opened in 1842 and was at The Crown Hotel, where Lloyds Bank now stands.

People staying here would have had treatment using water from St. Anne's Well.

The cure

The regime at a hydrotherapy centre consisted of plenty of fresh Malvern water, lots of exercise and a strict diet - which may account for its success.

There's was an early start for those taking the cure:

  • 6am 'Packing': The patient is wrapped in a long wet sheet and covered in eiderdowns.
  • 7am: The patient is unwrapped, given a cold shower and rubbed down
  • The showers were of two types: the descending douche where the patient stood under a stream of cold Malvern water: the ascending douche, which is best left to the imagination.
  • A hike up the hills, drinking a glass of water at each well or spring. The infirm were allowed to ride up on donkeys until well enough to walk.
  • Strict diet: No alcohol or rich foods. more >>>

Malvern Hills index

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Listen to a special report on the Malvern water cure by BBC Hereford and Worcester's Claudia Berry (56k)
BBC download guide
Free Real player
More about the Malverns

Malvern Hills:
Beacons
Geology
History
Quarrying
Railway tunnels
Malvern water

360 degree pictures:
British camp
Millennium Hill
North Hill
Worcestershire Beacon
Wyche Cutting

 

Weblinks
Malvern Hills Conservators
Malvern Hills District Council
Malvern Civic Society

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Contact us with your Malvern memories or send us your photographs




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