Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for March 2008

James Street Turkish Baths, Carlisle:
earthenware corbel

Earthenware corbel
< Photo: Shifrin

One of a series of glazed earthenware corbels around the walls of the cooling-room at the James Street Turkish Baths in Carlisle. Also to be seen are a decorative wall tile and parts of the stained glass panels at the top of one of the changing cubicles.

These baths were not the first to be built on this site, Carlisle's Roman baths having been opened on 31 July 1884. These were almost certainly Turkish baths, though probably smaller and simpler in style. A first class bath for a man or woman cost one shilling. 1

These later baths are still open and are known as the Victorian Health Suite. The baths are clearly built in the style of a Victorian Turkish bath and are therefore included in the website, but they were not actually opened until 20 September 1909. 2

Some areas have been reduced in size, and the layout has been changed on a number of occasions, but those parts which remain are of outstanding quality.

The baths were temporarily closed by the local council in 1991, 3  but were re-opened after public protests.

An article on these baths will appear in due course.

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  Malcolm Shifrin, 1991-2020
 1. A Barnes-Moss Post Office directory of Carlisle     [return]
 2. 'The Turkish Baths'     Carlisle Journal     (21 Sep 1909)     [return]
 3. 'Turkish Baths end'     Carlisle News     (22 Nov 1991)     [return]