This 1826 illustration shows Mahomed's Baths on the Brighton seafront. Din Muhammad, an Indian officer of the Company's Bengal Army, travelled to Britain in 1784. In 1812 he opened a bath-house in which he offered what he dubbed 'the Indian Medicated Vapour Bath' (it had Indian medicinal herbs added to the vapour) and 'Shampooing with Indian Oils'. The peak of Muhammad's career came when he treated King George IV and King William IV and was awarded Warrants of Appointment as 'Shampooing Surgeon' to their majesties.
Muhammad was one of very few Asians in England. While British culture became cluttered with Asian products, Asians themselves were only rarely encountered in Britain.
About the India Office trading documents
This is part of a collection of documents from the British Library's India Office, all of which relate to British trade with Asia from the late 1600s to the 1800s. The East India Company's first ships arrived in Bengal in 1608. By the end of the 17th century the company had factories, forts and settlements in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. It was importing cotton, silk and indigo, and making inroads into the Dutch domination of the spice trade.
Early in the 18th century, Company ships began to sail onward to Canton and the trade in tea ('cha') and porcelain ('China ware') began. From this time on the East India Company became more of a ruling power than a trading company in India, with the increasing involvement of the British government. A period of progressive domination and annexation followed so that, by 1858, when the East India Company was dissolved and the administration of India was taken over by the Crown, Britain controlled India, Burma, Singapore and Hong Kong.