About Malvern’s History with Holistic Medicine
Malvern has long been recognised for it’s pure water springs. It briefly saw the development of the ‘water cure’ in Victorian times and it has remained a popular place for people to visit for rest and recuperation.
Malvern has continued to be welcoming to complementary therapies, many of which are now recognised to be of true value in helping people towards better health and well-being. It was therefore an ideal place for Drs Martin and Sue Allbright to set up a clinic.
Malvern's pure spring water
Malvern had the first record about the purity of it's spring water in 1622 when it was noted as being used to help in treating eye diseases (in a book 'Breviary of One Hundred and Thirteen Diseases of the Eyes and Eyelids' by Richard Bannister). Later, Dr William Heberden (1710-1801) noted the purity of Malvern water, commenting that "the Malvern water is purer than that of any other springs in England, which I ever examined or heard of". Then, in 1757 Dr John Wall analysed the water and found it to be very pure, with a very low mineral content.
"Malvern water”, said Dr John Wall, “is famous for containing just nothing at all."
But Malvern is not a ‘SPA’ town, SPA stands for Sodium, Potassium, Ammonium, and Malvern water contains none of these; that is why Malvern became famous for its pure water.
Malvern’s water cure
Malvern was a sleepy hollow in the kings chase of the shires, until two doctors, Dr James Wilson and Dr James Manby Gully, decided to bring the latest medical development of hydrotherapy from Europe in 1842. They chose Malvern because it had natural pure water and a scenic environment, similar to the hilly area of Grafenberg where they had studied hydrotherapy.
The two doctors opened the first hydrotherapy establishment at the Crown Hotel on Belle Vue Terrace (now Lloyds Bank), later to be followed by Priestniz House (now Park View, in Abbey Road) and Tudor Hotel (on Worcester Road). Many people (including Charles Darwin’s daughter and Bernard Shaw) came to Malvern to receive hydrotherapy, otherwise known as the 'Water Cure'. They probably benefited from the simple diet, exercise and fresh air from walking the hills as much as the cold water baths! However, drinking pure clean water is now a well-recognised and established fact for helping and preventing health problems.
After 25 years the 'Malvern Water Cure' eventually started to go into decline after the death of Dr Wilson and also an outbreak of typhoid fever in one of the establishments. Dr Gully left Malvern in 1873, by which time hydrotherapy was more available at many European Spa towns.
Malvern has remained a popular place for people to visit for rest, recuperation and walks on the stunning hills.
Malvern’s bottles of pure water
Malvern’s connection with pure water, has carried on with a bottling plant producing Malvern Water. In 1622 Holywell Spring establishment bottled the water, it then moved to a spring in Colwall where it had recognition by appointment to the Queen. Sadly, the owners, Coca Cola, closed it down in 2010. The good news is that the Holywell Spring is still bottling the pure water. Numerous springs and wells exist on the hills and local people regularly collect and fill their own bottles to take home.