About Malcolm Shifrin,
author of the website

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

BookMalcolm's unique book, Victorian Turkish Baths, is the first ever to be written on the subject, and was commissioned in 2011 by Historic England (formerly part of English Heritage). It was published in November 2015 in partnership with Liverpool University Press and is now being distributed in the US by Oxford University Press. Full details can be found here, and excerpts from some of its reviews here. The book is available at a range of prices online at Amazon Marketplace and elsewhere.

Malcolm, who is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, was a librarian for most of his working life. His first ten years were spent as a school librarian and, after a brief spell as a children's librarian in the public library service, he joined the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) in 1970.

At that time the ILEA was starting its innovative Media Resources Centre and Malcolm was appointed its first Deputy Librarian and, soon afterwards, its Librarian. He continued with the authority until, as Head of its Central Library Resources Service, he took early retirement in 1985. As a librarian, he was most active in the fields of audiovisual materials and cataloguing, writing a textbook on the former and a research project for the Council of Europe on the latter.

In Bath in 1990, he happened to notice a decorated initial B on a stained glass door panel in a health club which had once been a Turkish bath. This was his introduction to the strange world of Charles Bartholomew who (falsely) claimed to have built the first modern Turkish bath in England. Finding that no one else had made a study of the Victorian Turkish bath, he determined that this was how he would spend his retirement.

Needing guidance in the ways of historians, he completed an MA in modern history at Royal Holloway University of London in 1996/7. 

Since 1995 he has undertaken a number of activities related to the website, in order to raise awareness of the fascinating history of the Victorian Turkish bath. These activities include presenting conference papers, giving talks to local groups, and writing popular magazine articles.

This page last updated 01 January 2021

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