Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for January 2008

The Southsea Turkish Baths:
23 & 24 King's Terrace, Southsea, Portsmouth

Southsea Turkish Baths
< Outside of the baths taken from an early 20th century postcard.
Advert for the baths
     < Advertisement from Kelly's Directory of Hampshire for 1898

These baths were opened in 1874 by Henry Collis, who ran them till his death some time around 1890. Two of his daughters continued running it until they sold it to William Billett Martin who almost immediately sold it on to a new company, the Southsea Turkish Baths and Hydropathic Company Ltd in 1896. The company engaged a Mr F Brough Burden as its first Manager and Masseur. When the company went into voluntary liquidation in 1905, Burden bought the baths from the liquidators and continued to run it until 1936, when it was sold as part of a site for an office block.

In 1885, Collis advertised the baths in the Portsmouth Times & Naval Gezette under the heading ROYAL TURKISH BATHS. Two years later, an advertisement in Chamberlain's Portsmouth directory indicated that the baths were 'Patronised by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh'.

The baths were also patronised by a Dr James Watson, a close friend of the author Conan Doyle who had his first practice round the corner. It is, therefore, possible that Conan Doyle also went there. Certainly Turkish baths are visited twice by Sherlock Holmes and his own Dr Watson in two of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr James Watson later became quite a large shareholder in the Southsea Turkish Baths & Hydropathic Co Ltd.

A full entry for this establishment will be published at a later date.

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Comments and queries are most welcome and can be sent to: 
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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
NOTES
 1. David Urquhart introduced the Turkish bath into the British Isles in 1856 [return]
 2. Harriet also wrote political articles under the name Caritas [return]
 3. See list of directors in companies section [return]