Among various activities, including dinner at Salvo’s Salumeria, I went to the Harrogate Pump Room Museum, where I haven’t been in a good twenty years, spurred by some Downton Abbey costumes on display (I love period costume exhibitions). Also on display was a collection of C20 films of Harrogate, which we ended up spending about 45 minutes watching. It included the 1970s Harrogate, the Boardroom of the North, a promotional film meant to sell the town to southern businesses, and featuring some truly extraordinary fashions. An early highlight is the men’s fashion show featuring salmon-pink and yellow jumpsuits (4min10 to 5min is a must-watch), at which my mother and another woman of about the same age (and thus early 30s when the thing was made) lost it completely. Then Jesus Christ Superstar turned up. It’s striking how much the clothes look like 1970s TV science-fiction outfits even off the catwalk.
Also on the Yorkshire Film Archive website are some short films we saw about treatments at the Baths in the 1930s**. Without any knowledge of it, it struck me that a considerable amount of the treatment must have been associated with polio and attempts to stimulate the muscles/nerves in order to regain strength and movement. And that whatever your specific condition, if you didn’t have a bath at home, or central heating, and daily life was generally pretty hard, then a couple of weeks of good food, rest, warmth and gentle exercise (i.e. a holiday) would probably perk you up considerably. I quite fancy it myself, in Baden Baden.
*They wouldn’t have been this morning, but a quirk of timetabling means there are two 4 minutes apart, so I was spare the 40 minute wait for the conductor of train 1 to get in and got train 2, which is a different route of getting me on to the same final connection.
**Preparing a peat bath looked like pretty brutal labour. They did not show one demonstrating ‘Plombières treatment’, aka colonic irrigation, though there was an example of a treatment bed for it.