About this series:

Charles 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.

The Ilkley 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.

The homeopathic 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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Wells Terrace House

White Wells View

White Wells

Charity Baths

Back of White Wells

Context View

Cold Water Bath

Cold Water Bath

Donkey Jackson