"For walks and for waters, for beaux and for belles,
There's nothing in nature to rival their wells."
We met 'Bernard Blackmantle', The English Spy, a couple of months ago. His real name was Charles Molloy Westmacott. His book The English Spy is a compendium of scurrilous tales and gossip with bits of useful information for the researcher. When I browsed the book I was struck by the illustrations of Cheltenham. I discovered that in the chapter titled "A Trip to the Spas", Blackmantle/Westmacott devotes several pages to Cheltenham, and includes several illustrations by Cruickshank which combine scenes of the town with ribald details.
The mineral wells were considered particularly efficacious (causing, according to The English Spy, abrupt exits from the Pump Rooms) and the Montpelier Spa and the Sherborne Spa were accounted 'splendid' and 'elegant' structures of their type. Below is the Royal Wells, with some users hurrying away as others flock in.
'Regency World - Villages and Towns' page at my website.
One guide I cannot recommend, except with a giggle, is "Cheltenham; its Beauties and Advantages Attempted in Blank Verse". A sample of its poetry will suffice to explain my laughter (the errors in possessives belong to the original):
It's beauties and it's pleasures,
I fain would raise them higher,
Attracting Whigs and Tories,
In concert to admire,
Forgetting party feelings,
Hail Nature's high display,
It's Waters confer healing,
And chase disease away.
'Til next time,
Sources From Google Books:
Griffith, J. K. "A General Cheltenham Guide" 1814
Ruff, H. "The History of Cheltenham and its Environs" 1803
Campbell, C. E. "Cheltenham; Its Beauties and Advantages" 1824
Griffith's "New Historical Description of Cheltenham" 1826
Blackmantle, Bernard "The English Spy" (also from Gutenberg.org, a more complete version)