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Sake Deen Mahomed
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Sake Deen Mahomed, who was known as the “Shampooing surgeon” was born in Patna in the state of Bihar , probably in 1759. His father was a sepoy captain, and at the age of 11 Mahomed joined the army as the follower of an English officer called Captain Baker. He took part in several battles and achieved the rank of Subidar (Captain).

When Captain Baker returned to England in 1784, Sake Deen Mahomed accompanied him, apparently out of interest “to see that part of the world”. He soon settled in Cork , Ireland , with the family of Baker's younger brother. Here he eloped with and married Jane Daly, “a pretty Irish girl of respectable parentage”, and also published his first book, The Travels of Dean Mahomed .

Around 1801 he went to Brighton , a growing resort because of the increasing popularity of sea bathing for health reasons. Mahomed opened an Indian Vapour Baths and Shampooing Establishment on the seafront, promoting it as a treatment for ailments from asthma to rheumatism. His treatment involved lying the patients down in a steaming herbal bath until they sweated freely and then massaging them. “Shampooing”, which Mahomed introduced to England for the first time, meant massaging rather than hair-washing (from the Hindi word champi , “to massage”).

At first this new technique was met with suspicion by the Brighton public, but Mahomed won them over by offering some free sessions, and publicising the cures he achieved for his first clients. Interest in his establishment grew, and he was patronised by the rich and famous including Lord Castlereagh and Sir Robert Peel. The King gave Mahomed the title of “Shampooing Surgeon to His Majesty George IV” and put him in charge of the Royal Baths at the Brighton Pavilion. In 1820 a group of satisfied patients published a list of Cases Cured by Sake Deen Mahomed , and in 1822 Mahomed wrote his own medical work about his cures.

Mahomed opened a second Baths in 1830 at St James's, London , run by one of his sons. Showing his versatility, he also opened a short-lived Indian Restaurant in London in1810, the Hindoostane Coffee House in Portman Square . He retired in 1843, leaving another son to run the famous Brighton establishment, and died in 1851.




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