From Historical Hastings

Riposo - so named for the Italian for ‘rest’ or ‘repose’ was a Health Hydro & Dietetic Sanatorium located in St. Helen’s Park, Hastings, Sussex.

It was founded by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (an ex-photo-journalist)with his wife, Margaret in 1912[1], and was one of the earliest health resorts in England which employed Nature Cure. Nature Cure, or ‘Naturopathy’ as it's sometimes called. The Riposo was also known as 'The Knowles Health Hydro & Dietetic Establishment'. His son, Gordon, with his wife, Joyce, joined him in this venture in the 1920s

Pitcairn-Knowles provided a range of different treatments including Hydropathy (water and steam applications), Heliotheraphy (sun, air and light treatment), Dietetics, Physical Culture (exercises, manual therapy and massage), the Guelpa Cure and the Schroth Cure. In Riposo many diseases were treated (among others obesity, mental depression, hysteria, insomnia, liver and kidney troubles, rheumatism and skin diseases), although the resort was also open to healthy people.

The cure that Pitcairn-Knowles seemed to have been most interested in was the ‘Schroth Cure,’ which was invented by Johann Schroth around 1718. Patients were to sleep in wet sheets ( called ‘wet packs’) and follow a ‘dry diet’. This diet consisted of only four meals per week (only rice, sago, porridge or potatoes) with stale bread as an additional item. Because Schroth believed that any excess fluid consumption would weaken the patients, the only fluid they were permitted to drink was wine, on four days a week. This supposedly helped patients to overcome the weariness that the ‘dry diet’ caused.[2]

A large number of images of the site and associated locations are at Topfoto and the Victoria and Albert Museum, a few of which are reproduced here with permission.

Open days and lectures

During the 1930s, there were a large number of open days and lectures on topics from diet to the healing effects of sunshine and fresh air given both at the sanatorium and other venues around the town by all members of the Pitcairn-Knowles family.


References & Notes

  1. Pitcairn-Knowles Website
  2. Victoria and Albert Museum Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles