Saturday, 14 January 2017

An 18th Century Indian in England - Sake Dean Mahomed

Sake Dean Mahomed (born Shiekh Din Muhammad) was born in Patna, India, in 1759. His father worked for the East India Company. His father died when he was young, and he went into service at the age of ten with Captain Godfrey Evan Baker, serving in the army of the British East India Company as a trainee surgeon. In 1782, Captain Baker resigned from the army, and Sake also resigned, choosing to follow the Captain to England.
He married an Irish girl, Jane Daly, who he met while living with Captain Baker in Ireland. Her family were opposed to the match, so they eloped in 1786, and Sake converted to Anglicanism as it was illegal for non-Protestants to marry Protestants at the time.
In 1794, he wrote his first travel book, The Travels of Dean Mahomed, in which he described several cities in India as well as military conflicts in India.
In 1810, the family moved to London and opened the first ever Indian restaurant in England. It was called the Hindoostanee Coffee House, in George Street near Portman Square. As well as serving curry, it offered hookahs to smoke - but the venture was not successful and ended due to financial difficulties.
He moved on to Brighton, where he opened a massage parlour and steam bath - which he termed "shampooing" from the Indian word champooi, for massage. This was described as a remedy for aches, sprains, rheumatism and other similar ailments, and Sake became famous - he was known as Dr Brighton, and George IV and William IV both used his services.
He died in 1851, and was buried in Brighton.

His son Frederick opened a gymnasium in Brighton where he taught fencing, boxing and gymnastics, and ran a Turkish Bath.

His grandson, another Frederick, became a renowned physician, working at Guy's Hospital in London and doing work on high blood pressure.
Another grandson, James, became Vicar of Hove in Sussex.

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