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

Malcolm has been 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 the initials CB on a stained glass door panel in a health club. 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, to raise awareness of the fascinating history of the Victorian Turkish bath, undertaken a number of activities related to the website. These include giving talks to local groups, writing popular articles, and presenting conference papers.

Talks on the Victorian Turkish bath

Malcolm is available between April and November to give fully illustrated talks about the Victorian Turkish bath (usually about 40-50 minutes in length) and brings his own laptop and data projector. If you, or your local society, would be interested, please send an email indicating what sort of talk you have in mind. If there is, or was, a Turkish bath in your area, this will usually be featured in the talk.

'It was wonderful, very interesting and surprisingly enthralling. I came because I thought it sounded weird. I stayed because it was really good!'

Sweltering Since 1938: Ironmonger Row and the Victorian Turkish Baths. (Holloway Arts Festival 2011)

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

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