their origin, development, & gradual decline

A website for the exchange of information, by Malcolm Shifrin.
Dedicated to Devra

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About this site, online since November 1999


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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline



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A list of Turkish baths which are still open


About the author and the dedicatee


Navigation and best viewing hints


Bookmarking and printing pages


Updating policy


Citing the site and copyright matters


Pictures of the month archive






  0: Currency and temperature conversion


  0: Turkish bath closures, 1990—


  1: Humour at Westminster?


  2: Progress at Manchester


  3: Research at Leamington Spa


  4: Carlisle baths Listed


  5: Bath attendants, New York City, 1882


  6: Legal action for the loss of a nose


  7: Music for the Turkish bath


  8: Corrections to the Survey of London


  9: The wearing of costumes in local authority baths






  1: What is a Victorian Turkish bath?


  2: Why should it interest us?


  3: Aims of the website


  4: The information exchange





Section title pages include photographs of: 


the hot room at Cragside;


the Minute Book of the London & Provincial


   Turkish Bath Co Ltd


The Arrival of the Turkish bath in 19C London


  1: Introduction


  2: The first Turkish baths


  3: The first Turkish baths in London


  4: Charges and class


  5: London women and the bath


Clean in body and mind: the Movement


  1: Introduction


  2: Urquhart, Barter, and St Ann's


  3: The Committees and The Free Press


  4: The Committees and their Turkish baths


  5: Clean in body and mind


David Urquhart and the London Hammam


  1: Introduction


  2: A couple of books and a couple of Acts


  3: The class barrier


  4: The Subscribers' meeting


  5: Urquhart's rôle and remuneration


  6: Plan, reality, and conclusion


The First Victorian Turkish baths in New York


  1: Dr Shepard & the first Turkish bath in the USA


  2: The First Turkish bath in Manhattan


The Hot air controversy: wet air or dry air?


  1: Background to the controversy


  2: The start of the row: Dr Madden's article


  3: Dr Barter's response


  4: Support from others


  5: Conclusion


Nothing but a load of hot air: controversies


  1: Introduction


  2: Technology and attitudes


  3: Technological issues


  4: Attitudinal issues;  Cleanliness


  5: Doctors' attitudes


  6: Class


  7: Charges of indolence and effeminacy


  8: Shampooing and nakedness


  9: Terminology and architectural style


10: Coda;  Postscript


Review of the sources for a Turkish bath history


  1: Before the Victorian Turkish bath


  2: Urquhart & the Victorian Turkish bath


  3: Barter & the Victorian Turkish bath


  4: Some early publications


  5: Controversy and problems


  6: Rise of Victorian Turkish bath


  7: Publicly funded baths


  8: Baths for special needs


Turkish baths for animals


  1: Introduction


  2: The first Turkish baths for animals


  3: Turkish baths for racehorses


  4: Turkish baths for urban working horses



Victorian Turkish bath TOPICS


Section title pages include:


dragon tattoo by Sutherland Macdonald;


caricature of a first-timer's visit to a Turkish bath.


'Classical porticos' and 'touches of eastern grandeur'


  1: The Turkish bath as a procedure


  2: The Turkish bath as a facility  


  3: Roman bath or Turkish bath?


  4: A working class movement


Heritaging the Victorian Turkish bath


  1: Heritaging


  2: David Urquhart and Richard Barter


  3: Naming the bath


  4: Styling the bath


Performance in the raw


  1: The stages of the Turkish bath


  2: Urquhart's performance


  3: Theatre and performance


  4: The ritual of the towels


  5: The shampooing ritual


  6: The hand-clapping ritual


  7: The self-confident bathers


Shampooing in 19th century London


  1: Charles Booth's survey


  2: The Turkish baths surveyed


  3: The shampooers


  4: Hours and holidays


  5: Shampooers' wages


  6: Tips, tipping, and total income


Women and the Victorian Turkish bath


  1:   Introduction


  2:   The first Victorian Turkish baths


  3:   Women and the first Turkish baths


  4:   Availability of the baths to women


  5:   Entrance charges & attendants' wages


  6:   Attitudes to privacy, nudity, & exercise


  7:   The Turkish bath and women's health


 —    Table: Victorian Turkish Baths known to have had women's facilities


—Shorter topics


A Bunch of baths books


Cabinet baths: the DIY approach


Caricatures and cartoons


David and Harriet Urquhart: a team


The Death of William Urquhart


Earliest Turkish bath photos?


Hydropathy and wet sheet packing


James Joyce's Ulysses


Ladies' night in a Turkish bath


Letter from Constantinople


Mrs Doggett asks for more: duties of the housekeeper at 76 Jermyn Street


Shakespeare takes a Turkish: a parody


Steaming: the theatre moves to Harrogate Turkish Baths


Turkish baths: hot, humid, or steamy?


Turkish baths in fiction


The Urquharts' bath at Riverside


Verse and worse


Which was Trollope's Jermyn St Turkish bath?




PERSONS connected with Turkish baths


Section title pages include images of:


Francis Francis;


Thomas Gibson Bowles;


Major Robert Poore;


Some Turkish bath personalities


Dr Richard Barter and At Ann's Hydropathic Establishment


  1:   Dr Barter and the early years of St Ann's


George Elson



Public COMPANIES involved with Turkish baths


Section title pages include images of:


Share certificate of the Stroud Baths Society Ltd


Turkish bath companies


The articles on individual companies are reached from:


List of Limited Liability Companies  




DIRECTORY of Turkish baths in the British Isles


The articles on individual establishments
are reached from the lists below, and are preceded by notes on . . .


The directory, and what is included


How the Turkish baths in the directory have been found and dated


Lists of Turkish baths in the British Isles by PLACE


England: London


England: Provinces








Lists of some special user Turkish baths in the British Isles by TYPE














Ocean liners




Lists of some Turkish baths outside the British Isles by CONTINENT


Scope of the overseas lists        








North America






  001: Currency and temperature conversion        


  002: Turkish bath closures, 1990—        


  01: Humour at Westminster?        


  02: Progress at Manchester        


  03: Research at Leamington Spa        


  04: Carlisle baths Listed        


  05: Bath attendants, New York City, 1882        


  06: Action for loss of a nose


  07: Music for the Turkish bath






List of terms included


Images index & picture gallery


Section title page includes:


weight table from the Imperial Hotel bedrooms






Links to and from the site



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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

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The right of Malcolm Shifrin to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him
in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988