his 1895 history of Winchester,
Alderman Thomas Stopher notes that 155
High Street was,
For many years occupied by Henry Butcher, a baker and very worthy man. He established here the first Turkish bath and indeed the only one there has been in the City. Many a good shampooing I have had at his hands. The arrangements were very primitive, the hot chamber being over the oven to economize heat. There was no plunge to cool you down, only warm water thrown over you, gradually colder, preceeded [sic] by the caution
'Cooler!' as he reduced the temperature of the water.
seem to have closed around 1880, despite the last directory entry being for the
The Hampshire Chronicle reports that in January 1881 Mr
Butcher, 'formerly of the Turkish Baths', was awarded a pension of £10 from Pemberton's Charity founded by a former mayor of the city.
Certainly by 1884, the bakery had been taken over by A. Dumper,
the 'Pastrycook, baker
and confectioner' who already owned several shops in the High
Butcher looked after women's sessions during her husband's lifetime and
it may be possible that she ran the baths for a time after his
death. In either case, she was certainly thought of by the unknown
owner of a photograph album in the Hampshire Record Office as 'Mrs
Butcher who looked after the Turkish Baths' and it seems likely that
this was how she was generally known during the years when the Turkish
bath was open.
baths are significant because they were possibly built at the suggestion
of David Urquhart following a visit by him to Winchester. Even if
this is not so, it is clear that ten years after he first started
helping members of his Foreign Affairs Committees to build Turkish baths
he was still advising them, and they were still writing to let him know
how they were getting on.
Stopher's description of the Turkish bath is nicely complemented by
that in the letter which Henry Butcher, Secretary of the
Winchester Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Urquhart
in February 1866.
I will now give you some account of our Bath and the success
hitherto attending it. It was thought desirable to construct the
Bath over the crown of the oven, but finding this attended with
greater expense than [we] could conveniently manage, the
certainty of the oven itself within two or three years requiring
repairs would oblige us to accept a less expensive [means], by
making the lumber or store room over the Bathhouse into Bath
Washing and Dressing Room—the Bath and Washroom being laid with
polished slate 116 square feet one inch thick. The most heat
from the oven is made to pass under the slated floor thus
sufficiently heated to walk comfortably upon,—but was obliged
to introduce steam, the heat obtained as above not being
sufficient or continuous enough for our purpose but we have now
by these combined means, viz, hot air and steam, a Bath that can
be heated in an hour to 130 Degrees—this Bath will contain
easily six persons, and is separated from the Washroom by an air
tight door, the washing place half as large again as the Bath itself—Slated at the sides to the height of four
the centre—which is a pipe supplying water from the company
works, which can be used either in a body, or by the application
of a rosehead be made to face as a copious and wide-thread shower,—having opened this Bath for a fortnight free to anyone
who we could induce to avail themselves of the opportunity, have
much pleasure to inform you that about 40 persons have passed
through highly pleased and delighted with the result.—the cost
of this with the addition of the Dressing Room to our house,
amounting to little over twenty pounds—We have great
expectations of making it in a pecuniary point of view a
profitable undertaking—for am glad to state we have already
taken £1-2-6 thus far—to realise the hope Mr Urquhart held out
to us when at Winchester that it may be made a profitable
investment, besides being a blessing to ourselves and neighbourhood.
Again Sir receive my thanks, for to the Free Press, the Pillar
[sic] of Hercules, and your own personal advice, myself, family,
and friends owe this extra comfort.
Your Obedient Servant,
1980, the building was described
as having an 18th century front added to an earlier, probably 16th
century, timber-framed building.
Overhung on brackets at the west end, it comprised two storeys and an
attic and had steeply
pitched tiled roof with two dormers. The upper floor had a stucco front
and panelled parapet, with modern shop fronts on ground floor.
This page last
revised 10 March 2016