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Friday, May 10, 2013

singing at the spaw

Smells & Chemistry is my interpretation on this week's Sepia Saturday When i go Harrogate Turkish Baths I will also go & fill up an empty Pop Bottle full of Harrogate Sulphur water I use on it my skin (great for Athlete's Foot & suchlike !) also once when in Italian Mountains,Me & Chris both had Sulphur Baths
I found out this week that a Sulphur Spring exists only 3 miles from home.I must visit & fill-up.
Local children in their Sunday Best “taking the water” in 1911
In medieval times and earlier, winter was a very difficult time for local inhabitants. The long season of cold and darkness, with limited food, caused hardship and ill health. Consequently, people looked forward to the onset of spring with warmer weather and more food. It was the custom in early spring for people to gather at the spa to drink the water and cleanse themselves of their winter ailments, and to give them strength to face the coming year. Whether or not the water had a medicinal effect is debatable, but the waters were a way of celebrating the passage of winter and the beginning of spring – and there are anecdotes from a number of local octogenarians of the curative and restorative properties of the Spaw waters, attributing their long standing to regular draughts of Spa water!In the 19th century this event usually occurred on the first Sunday in May and was called “Spaw Sunday”. It was said that on this day the water at Cragg Spa took on “an especial different taste”. Local children in their Sunday Best “taking the water” in 1911 All you needed was a medicine bottle, filled with the spa water, liquorice was added (to make it more palatable for drinking) then the mixture was thoroughly shaken and – if you didn’t want to look like a cissy! – swigged down in one. The sulphurous water from the spa was deemed to be excellent for making tea, although some recommended a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to take the edge off the “bad eggs smell”. As time passed these gatherings became quite popular, and attracted tourists and early socialists as well as local people. At the beginning of the 20th century the Independent Labour Party saw an opportunity to play an important part in the “spaw” celebrations locally, and the early religious orators gave way to those of a political nature. In 1906, a report on a pilgrimage to the Cragg Spa and then onto Blackstone Edge, noted that numbers at the event were becoming fewer and only 500 people went onto the White House where the Hebden Bridge band was playing.The Second World War ended “Spaw Sunday “celebrations at Cragg Spa.........{source:}
 Below the old stone bridge almost forgotten Water gurgles quietly from subterranean fault
The surface air scented with sulphurous stink.
 Contrasting with earthy woodland and river mix The nose turns towards the Spa lending it’s name to nearby cottage row and farm.
 Celebrated in past times with ‘Spaw Sunday’ Religious and Political gatherings drew crowds in hundreds After the confinement of winter, a time of Cleansing Parents and children dressed for the occasion ‘Taking the Waters’ with a little Spanish to stop the Retch “Get it down, it’ll do you good”
 Black Crow and Gray Heron watch from a distance Speeding Dipper stitches the torn river with a bubbling silver thread Brown Trout pushes against the flow avoiding the throng {Graham Ramsden}



Blessing the spa with a rosemary bough.
Hold your nose. It's tradition................... "Welcome to the world's shortest pilgrimage" announced James, the vicar, as the procession prepared to set off from the church of St John the Baptist in the Wilderness. This gathering was part of the 'Spaw Sunday' celebrations, ('spaw' being the dialect word for 'spa'.) ...."{The Guardian:Calderdale Religion}

Singing at The Spa.


20 comments:

Kristin said...

The last two photos look so fresh and clear, I'm having a hard time imagining the smell and taste of sulphur.

We used to live over a spring that oozed up from cracks in the drive. Luckily, no sulfur smell.

Brian Miller said...

pretty interesting all those people lined up in the last couple pics...we have a couple natural springs nearby and people go down there all the time to fill up fresh jugs..

Postcardy said...

I wouldn't like to drink sulfurous water--even with licorice or tea!

Brett Payne said...

When there is a southerly wind blowing, we get a very definite sulphurous air blowing our way from Rotorua, as it was this morning as I was hanging up the washing, so I don't need to go anywhere to "take the water."

Alex Daw said...

I always learn something from your posts Tony! I drank fermented tea for the first time this week....it was ...different.

Alex Daw said...

I always learn something from your posts Tony! I tasted fermented tea for the first time this week...it was...well..different.

Ann ODyne said...

a good bit of considerate landscaping there, with daffodils too, and all done by volunteers I would bet.
When I 'take the waters' they have a good splash of Bombay Sapphire to adjust the taste thanks.

Bob Scotney said...

We often seem to miss out on things that are close to use and which we always meant to visit but never do. I don;t thing the geology in our area has anything like this spring. Great piece, Tony.

Sharon said...

We went to sulphur baths in New Zealand but I didn't get in as the smell put me off.

Kathy Morales said...

A visit to Yellowstone National Park indoctrinated me to the smell of sulphur springs. Can't imagine the taste of drinking that water! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?

Pat transplanted to MN said...

This tradition of taking the waters carried over to the eastern states from Europe; I heard of relatives who visited such places in the East and south religiously each spring. When we visited Yellowstone Park in the 1980's some of the active geysers emitted that sulphorous smell, it was not pleasant so odd they considered it healthful. I like the blessing with the rosemary bough, wonder why rosemary and not some other branch?

Mike Brubaker said...

Mineral waters have such different tastes, odors, and textures. I would suspect that Sulphur Water's "appeal" comes from the Devil in it! Washed down with a generous portion of faith that it will somehow make you better for at least a year.

Wendy said...

I understand the draw to mineral springs but not to sulphur baths.

Jim Froggatt said...

Kids taking the water. Those were the days. These days they take the piss.

Karen S. said...

Gee whiz what a fun time, especially since I didn't catch any bad smell at all from here! Ha! Ha! We have a mineral spring close to me that folks come from miles away to fill their containers, everyday! Great photos and once again you share such awesome moments!

Akelamalu said...

Interesting. Spring water I can understand but Sulphur? Mmmmmm.....

Kurt said...

I can't go in sulphur springs - I get a red rash. In olden days America, when spring arrived, mountain folk would gather up batches of greens and cook them up. They were considered a tonic for the system after the long winter.

barbara and nancy said...

Interesting post. I often wonder if those healing waters really heal.
Nancy

TICKLEBEAR said...

I don't know...
I might be reticent about ingesting something with sulphur in it.
:D~
HUGZ

FrankandMary said...

I've visited the healing waters of Amalfi, but I'd never even heard of this. ~Mary