The History of Leith

June 8, 2006

Have a Bath and be cured in Old Leith

In 1730 there was established in Tolbooth Wynd an institution having a bath stove which as an old handbill said-

“ It is to be found in Alexander Hayes Close, over against the entry to Babylon, betwixt the Tolbooth and the Shore.

At Leith there is a bath stove set up by William Paul after the fashion of Poland and Germany which is approven by all the doctors of physic and apothecaries in Edinburgh and elsewhere-a sovereign remedy in curing all diseases and preventing sickness in old and young. This bath is able to give content to four score people a day.

The diseases which are commonly cured by the said bath are these-The hydropis, gout, deafness, itch, sore eyes, cold, ….Irish ague, colic….

This bath is to be used all times and seasons both summer and winter and every person that comes to bath must bring clean linen with then for their own use especially clean shirts. All the days of the week for men, except Friday which is reserved foe woman and children.

(The bath probably did produce “cures” for the simple reason the state of hygiene in Leith in the 18th century and in fact well into the 19th century was so poor. The Bath house in time became part of Leith Hospital)

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