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Barter, Richard (DNB00)


BARTER, RICHARD, M.D. (1802–1870), physician, was born at Cooldaniel, co. Cork. His father died during his childhood, and this loss, together with the troubles consequent on the outbreak of the Whiteboy insurrection, caused his education to be much neglected. Having qualified at the London College of Physicians, he began his professional career as dispensary doctor at Inniscarra. During the cholera visitation of 1832 he became impressed with the curative power of water. Soon after the cholera had disappeared he removed from Inniscarra to the neighbourhood of Mallow, where he married Miss Newman. In 1836 he returned to his old neighbourhood, and for some time took deep interest in farming, helping to establish and acting as secretary of the Agricultural Society of the County of Cork. The visit of Captain Claridge, a warm advocate of hydropathy, to Cork in 1842 strengthened Barter's previously formed ideas, and led him to set up the St. Anne's water-cure establishment at Blarney. In spite of a good deal of ridicule, his house prospered, and he soon had a large number of patients as boarders. On reading Urquhart's ‘Pillars of Hercules’ he was so much struck by the author's account of hot-air baths, that he asked him to come and stay with him. He eagerly adopted the new doctrine, and set up the first hot-air baths in the British dominions; for though Urquhart introduced the principle, Barter's friends declare that he was the first to carry it into practical working. Although the prosperity of his establishment was somewhat shaken by this new move, Barter soon regained his lost ground. Another important step was taken when, after a few years, he set up and advocated a hot-air bath without vapour—the so-called Turkish bath. Barter spent much time and money in travelling about to explain his system, and in forwarding its adoption. He edited a pamphlet containing extracts from the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ under the title of ‘The Turkish Bath, with a View to its Introduction into the British Dominions,’ 1856. Extracts from lectures delivered by Barter and Urquhart were published at Melbourne in a tract entitled ‘The Turkish Bath’ (pp. 8), 1860. Barter died on 3 Oct. 1870.

[Recollections of the late Dr. Barter.]

W. H.