The Elegant Spa houses in the late 18th Century
The Spa is about 1 mile from Melksham town centre on the A365 Devizes Road. Its name originated from the discovery of saline springs on the Devises road out of Melksham in 1813 which was hailed as a most exciting development as the water was found to have properties thought to cure various ills.. In 1815, the Melksham Spa Company was formed which led to the building of a pump room and three prominent boarding houses in preparation for an influx of visitors to partake of the claimed medicinal benefits. The crescent of six houses on the north side of the road show the original attempt to rival nearby Bath. People came to take the waters for a while but the fashionable Bath meant that the efforts at Melksham were doomed to failure.
An early nineteenth century book entitled The Melksham Guide prophesied that Melksam "... will increase in extent and respectability and soon become a celebrated watering place and a resort of beauty, wealth and fashion" However, efforts to imitate Bath were shortlived and by 1822 interest in the waters had declined. The Melksham Guide itself is a valuable record of both Melksham and West Wiltshire in the early nineteenth century.