Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for January 2012

Site of the London Hammam:
behind 76 Jermyn Street, 2011

Site of the London Hammam
< Photo: Shifrin

On the night of 17 April 1941, about four months after it had closed due to the effects of the world war II air-raids on central London, the world-renowned London Hammam, opened in 1862, was destroyed by a fire bomb.

At the top of the image is the rear of the office building which now stands on the site of 76 Jermyn Street. The original building had been the St James's Hotel, which became the reception area and offices of the Hammam, together with, on the upper floors, a series of rooms for short or long term let, originally named St James's Private Hotel, but later changed to Hammam Chambers.

Because the London & Provincial Turkish Bath Company were not allowed to alter the main part of the Jermyn Street building, the Turkish bath was built behind it on the site of the hotel stables and courtyard. This reached back to Great Ryder Yard, giving them an area of around 50x100 ft for the great hall and other parts of the Hammam.

In the company's lease, the Crown Surveyor stipulated, as a condition of being allowed to build behind the hotel, that in the event of the baths closing, the site had to be returned to its appearance at the time of the lease being granted. So the site of the Hammam itself has not been built on since, and in 2012 has become an office car park, the 21st century equivalent of the original stables and courtyard.

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

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