DOCTORS specialise in many things, but nowadays it would be hard to find a “shampooing surgeon”.

Luckily, Brighton used to have its very own in the form of Sake Dean Mohamed, an eccentric entrepreneur who came from India by way of Cork and London.

In his supposedly 101-year-long life he converted to Christianity, started one of Britain’s first Indian restaurants and later went bankrupt.

But it was in Brighton where Sake Dean made a name for himself, starting his “Vapour Baths” in 1820 where the Queen’s Hotel now stands.

Inside, bathers would sit in a tank of steam infused with Indian herbs and spices.

The businessmen claimed his unique approach to washing could cure anything from asthma to paralysis.

“What six or seven hours rest will produce in cases of fatigue, the vapour baths and shampooing will effect in a few minutes,” Sake Dean wrote in one of his popular books on the subject.

“The herbs of which my bath are impregnated are brought expressly from India and undergo a certain process known only to myself.”

As word spread of Sake Dean’s healing techniques, naturally royalty got involved.

Prince Regent George IV appointed him as his Royal shampooing surgeon, a post Sake Dean also held with King William IV.

But despite all his decadence, the entrepreneur started from humble beginnings in India.

Born in Patna in the north of the country in 1758, Din Mohammed enlisted in the army at the age of 11.

After rising through the ranks quickly, Irish officer Godfrey Evan Baker took the young soldier to Cork in Ireland, where Din worked as a house manager.

Learning English at college, Din eventually met and married Jane Daley, converting from Islam to Protestantism.

But he went one step further and Anglicised his name to Sake Dean Mahomed.

In Ireland he became the first Indian to publish a book in English, writing The Travels of Dean Mohamet.

But in 1808 he and Jane moved to London, working for a wealthy aristocrat called Basil Cochrane.

With financial backing, Sake Dean set up London’s first Indian restaurant: the Hindoostani Coffee House.

With curries “unequalled to any curries ever made in England”, the venture eventually made him bankrupt, forcing Sake Dean and his family to move to Brighton in disgrace.

After working in bathhouses in Devonshire Place and East Street, at the age of 61 the Indian concocted his most successful idea: the revolutionary “vapour baths”.

Built on the seafront in elaborate Indian style, his bathhouse played a part in Brighton’s boom in the early 1800s.

Sake Dean himself played a character, wearing lavish Indian clothes.

But despite his success and royal recognition, the bathing expert moaned as competitors sprung up across Brighton.

“Several pretenders have, since my establishment has formed, entered the field in opposition to me

who profess to know the art,” he later wrote.

“Yet I am sure their ignorance must appear manifest to the world.

“It is a pity the public should be deluded by mere pretenders who bring into disrepute by their bungling stupidity the legitimate practice

of a most useful and beneficial discovery.”

But as the decadence of the Georgian era came to a close, in 1843 bathhouse owner Thomas Brown died, leaving Sake Dean unemployed.

The trailblazing pioneer lived out the rest of his days in a modest home in Black Lion Street before his death in 1859.

This would have made him

101 years old, a figure historians dispute.

But for an eccentric figure like Sake Dean, that is a given.