The forgotten Kursaal – cure-all or curse for chancers and dancers?
Before the days of wild swimming and thalassotherapy, taking the waters meant going to a posh spa for a cure using the mineral springs and thermal baths found there, with the Kursaal being a focal point. In nineteenth century Europe spas, often called thermal baths, were elite hotspots with ballrooms, promenades, and also casinos allowing visitors to take a bath in the financial sense. Spas were even haunts for artists, among them renowned Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky who lost money and found inspiration to write his novel The Gambler at Baden Baden in Germany, Europe’s foremost spa at the time. Surprisingly, contemporary medicine does now find real benefits to water therapies and bathing for a number of conditions, and the spa at Bath in England was found to effect real cures, possibly of conditions caused by lead poisoning.