Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for August 2008

Old Kent Road, London:
Camberwell Turkish Baths: the cooling-room, 1905

Camberwell cooling-room
< Photo: Souvenir of the opening of the public baths...Old Kent Road...19 October 1905. London : Camberwell Council, 1905

Camberwell planThe Camberwell Baths were the first local authority baths in London to include a Turkish baths suite. They were opened in 1905 and remained open for 40 years, being destroyed in the blitz during the last months of World War II. The cooling-room is shown at the bottom right of the plan. (Click for enlarged plan)

The walls were lined with white Sicilian marble, with bands of verte antico, while the floor was black and white with dove coloured bands. There was a marble fountain, the floor of which was of variegated marbles with Sicilian curb. The marble drinking fountain and a weighing machine can be seen in the background.

There were couches for fourteen bathers, each with a low screen around it. This arrangement was adopted as more privacy was considered necessary when the room was used by women. The reclining couches and chairs were of a special design to meet the requirements of cleanliness in a public baths environment.

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