Darwin was in very ill health all during 1859, while he was finishing
up the final draft of "Origin of Species". To remedy his ill
health he planned on going to the village of Ilkley, in Yorkshire, for
treatment in July of 1859. Delays in his final work on Origin put off
his departure, and it was not until 2 October, after getting the final
proof sheets off to John Murray Publishers, that he was able to go.
Darwin stayed in rooms at Ilkley Wells House, Dr. Edmund's homeopathic
establishment, but when his family came up on 17 October they took lodgings
in Wells Terrace House (North House). Unfortunately this series of photographs
does not include Ilkley Wells House, as it was closed to visitors when
the other photographs were taken.
Wells House was a homeopathic treatment facility, built around 1854-56,
and was run by Dr. Edmund Smith. Homeopathy was the treatment of disease
via the ingestion of tiny doses of materials which caused the same symptoms
as the disease itself. White Wells (circa 1700) was a water cure establishment.
The "Water Cure" was a treatment whereby icy cold water applied
to the body drew blood away from the internal organs, and this was thought
to provide relief for the patient.
and water cure treatments did not do Darwin much good. In fact he sprained
his ankle, got boils on his legs, and was generally in low spirits the
whole time he was there. His wife, Emma, and the children left Ilkley
on 24 November, two days after "Origin of Species" was published,
and Darwin moved back to Ilkley Wells House until 7 December before
returning to Down House.
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