On the north bank of the River Tees a few hundred yards to the south-west of Middleton St.George is the spot of the original Dinsdale Spa – not the building/hotel of the name later built on the site, but the spa itself. It was originally discovered, well, let’s hear it directly from the best source I was able to find on the subject…
Well was accidentally
discovered in 1789 by labourers employed by the late Mr. Lambton in searching
for coal. The men had bored to the depth of seventy-two feet, chiefly through
red rock and whinstone, when the spring burst forth with a tremendous smoke and
sulphureous stench. The remarkable qualities of the water attracted the
attention of the labourers, who dug a hole in the channel of the spring for the
purpose of bathing, and one of them, who had long been afflicted with chronic
rheumatism, was perfectly cured by the bath and drinking the water. Though
under no medical rule or regulation, the extraordinary effects of the water,
particularly in chronic rheumatism and cutaneous disorders, added daily to its
celebrity. A cold bath was built in 1797, and a warm bath has since been added.
The Dinsdale Spa has gradually become a place of great resort, and the little Sulphur , a quarter of a mile below
the village of Middleton , has been sometimes crowded with visitors. From
experiments, a wine-quart of the water contains carbonate of lime 2 grains,
sulphate of lime 25 grains, carbonic acid gas 2 cubic inches, azotic gas 1.50,
sulphurated hydrogen gas, which contains 2½ grains of sulphur, 8.32. The large
quantity of hepatic air is most remarkable, and probably exceeds the proportion
in any medicated water of which the analysis is before the public. The
separation of sulphur is so copious, that large quantities may be collected out
of the channel of the spring. The water is clear and sparkling at the
well-head, but gradually becomes opaque as the sulphur separates from the gas.
Like most hepatic waters, it leaves a slight sweetness on the palate. The
stream, which issues through a very small bore, flows twelve gallons in a
minute; neither weather nor season make any observable alteration in quality or
quantity. On applying the bulb of the thermometer to the stream as it breaks
into day, the quicksilver stands at 52, eight degrees above the temperature of
the neighbouring springs. Bath
About two miles up the river are the remains of an old
; the water is slightly
hepatic and saline. Bath
[from: 'Parish of Dinsdale', The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 3: Stockton and Darlington wards (1823), pp. 230-242. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=76355 . Date accessed:
3rd April 2012]
In time, Dinsdale Spa fell from favour. It’s potential, however, stretched deep into the 19th century, with the construction of Dinsdale Station to accommodate the anticipated passenger traffic from the new-fangled railway system.
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