Strathpeffer Places

Strathpeffer Community Collage
As you enter the Pump Room you are greeted by volunteers Maureen and Shirley, and, as you leave, the Victorian gentleman holding the "sweetie poke" (paper bag) is not offering a treat but suggesting you may wish to leave a donation in support of the exhibition you have viewed.

You can, of course, purchase your own "sweetie poke" from the attractive range on display, or a souvenir from the gift shop.

The Pump Room

A visit to the last remaining pump room of the former Spa complex at Strathpeffer gives an idea of the procedures endured by those who came to "take the waters" at the beginning of the 20th century.  Unfortunately, 21st century health and safety regulations no longer permit sampling of the contents of the sulphur or iron wells lying deep underground.

However, we can meet some of the characters who visited the Spa or meted out treatments.

Mrs Mitchell, preparing to "take the waters".  Each picture is said to tell a story, and this one suggests domineering wife and hen-pecked husband! 

These models show a patient consulting Strathpeffer physician Dr Fortescue Fox.

The real Dr Fortescue Fox.  Photograph kindly contributed by his grandson, Dr Robin Fox.

Dr Fortescue Fox was an expert Victorian Physician who came to Strathpeffer where he developed an interest in Medical Hydrology.  This field of medicine involved using the climate and waters.

In November 2019 RCHS was contacted by Dr Robin Fox, a grandson of Dr Fortescue Fox, as he is writing an article for a medical journal about his forebear, and has given additional information as follows.

My grandfather moved from London partly for his health, and Strathpeffer was clearly good for him.  He was soon married to a daughter of the Rev W S McDougall, Free Church minister of Jamestown, and living in a fine house where the family was awoken by a piper.  He wrote "Strathpeffer Spa:  its waters and climate".  During his time as medical superintendent the Spa expanded considerably.  On returning to London he became something of a pioneer in Rheumatology and rehabilitation. 


After drinking the waters, Mrs Mitchell would have endured more torture by having a mud bath .......

..... into which she would have been lowered by an extremely skilled nurse.

Highland Railway poster in the exhibition.

Visitors to Strathpeffer came via the Highland Railway Company which opened its branch line to the village on 3 June 1885.  Until then, visitors made the final stage of their journey by horse-drawn coach, which was both inconvenient and not very suitable for the many guests who were older, in poor health or invalids.  In the first decade of the 20th century the Spa was overflowing with visitors and the Railway Company built their grand 90-bedroom Highland Hotel, which opened in 1911 - it can be seen on the top left in the poster.
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