Sake Dean Mahomed

Full name: 
Shaykh Din Muhammad
Arabic name: 
شيخ دين محمّد
Date of birth: 
1759
Date of death: 
24 Feb, 1851

One enterprising Asian who became a great success in his day was Sake Dean Mahomed. A soldier in the East India Company’s Bengal Regiment, he had first settled in Ireland in 1784, in the service of captain Baker with whom he worked for many years. In 1810, he established the Hindoostanee Coffee House at 34 George Street, London, Britain’s first Indian restaurant run by an Asian. However, this venture failed within two years.

In 1814, Mahomed moved to Brighton, a growing town at the time. Here he set up Mahomed’s Baths, treating patients with muscular ailments with a massage or champi (the origin of the word shampoo) after a steaming bath of Indian aromatic herbs and oils. Mohamed’s cure worked; he became famous, and fashionable people around the country flocked to his baths. Even doctors sent their patients to Mahomed. In 1822, King George IV appointed him his personal shampooing surgeon, an appointment continued by William IV.

In 1822, Mahomed published his medical work, Shampooing or Benefits Resulting from the Use of the Indian Medicated Vapour Bath. It featured many glowing testimonies from his patients as the example from Mrs Kent above shows.

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