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Bottle of medicinal water, France, 1928

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This bottle of medicinal water (second from the right) was collected from the hot spring of La Rampe at the spa town of Bagnères de Bigorre in south-west France. Hot springs and mineral waters were popular in a number of ancient cultures – including Greek and Roman. Centuries later, a renewed interest in the healing and medicinal properties of these natural waters reached a peak in the Victorian period with hundreds of sites across Europe packed with visitors coming to ‘take the waters’ in the hope of a cure. The handwritten label gives the date, “17 March 1928”, the temperature of the spring, “35ºC” (96ºF), and indicates that it is to be used for the stomach. Once cooled the water was either drunk or applied to the body. The bottle is shown here with three others from the same region of France (A103802, A103806, A103807).

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Glossary: bottle

Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

Glossary: medicinal water

No description.

Glossary: spa

A resort with mineral springs which are thought to have properties that help cure or soothe illnesses.