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|Dean Mahomed Shampooing Surgeon in Brighton.|
Mahomed is next encountered as a manager of the Devonshire Place bath-house in Brighton. By then he was past middle age. He arrived in 1814 according to a testimonial dated 10 November 1814 from a grateful patient in Cases Cured by Sake Dean Mahomed Shampooing Surgeon, an inventor of the Indian Medicated Vapour and Sea-water Baths (Brighton, 1820). In Brighton Mahomed re-invented himself claiming that he was the 'Inventor of the Indian Medicated Vapour Baths ... by whom the Art of Shampooing was first introduced into England in 1784', leaving out his years in Ireland and in London. Skilfully using advertising he promoted his Indian-ness and his treatment as more powerful and 'superior' for treating rheumatic ailments, using Indian oils and herbs. Success, however, was slow in coming. As his son, Horatio, writes in his book: there was 'tremendous opposition, the public press teemed with abuse, the medical faculty shook their heads' while '... the public at large' dismissed his cure as 'a cheat and a Hindoo juggle.' Mahomed persevered, offering free treatments to those patients who had failed to respond to other cures. Success followed and the public were won over. By December 1815, Mahomed had moved to Battery House Baths, East-Street, where his sons Horatio, Frederick and Arthur were born, and his daughter Rosannah and son Henry died. Read more on Dr Brighton, as Dean Mahomed was affectionately known.
In 1821 Mahomed's Baths opened on the sea front at East Cliff, a visible symbol of his success. Mahomed's Baths were patronised by eminent men and women among them Lords Castlereagh and Canning, Lady Cornwallis and Sir Robert Peel (Mahomed's Visitors Books can be viewed at the Brighton Reference Library). Brighton Guidebooks recommended the Baths to visitors. Mahomed even provided shampooing and vapour bath treatments to King George IV. His highest achievement was to be appointed as Shampooing Surgeon to the King, an appointment continued under William IV. A Royal Warrant was bestowed on him by the King's orders.
However, Mahomed's attraction and success was partly due to the fact that he was in the right environment at the right time. In the context of the architect Nash's Royal Pavilion at Brighton, an Oriental fantasy, completed by 1821 and the developing British Raj in India, the association of Mahomed's Baths with Oriental luxury and Mahomed as an exotic figure blended with the times.
View pictures of Mahomed's Baths in Brighton.
Creators: Abi Husainy
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