Stephen's Green Turkish Baths
This establishment adjoining
Jury's Hotel, and owned by them, was opened on 5 August 1878.
The building was designed by a local
architect, Mr Alfred G Jones of 45 Stephen's Green East and built by
Thomas Tighe of Hamilton Row. The floors and walls
were tiled by Mansell & Mitchell and the painting and
decoration carried out by Gibson & Son of Mary Street. The drains, plumbing and
gas-fittings were by Curtis & Son of Middle Abbey Street, while
another local firm, Sloane & Son, of Stephen's Green North (who were
later to open their own Turkish baths both
and in Leinster Street) were responsible for the heating of the baths.
Much of what we know about the baths is taken from
two articles published when the baths opened. The first of these
appeared in the Irish times, and the second, probably published in return for advertisements,
appeared in the
Dublin journal of medical science.
The baths were situated close to the Royal College
of Surgeons and it was hoped that they would be popular not only with
the patrons of Jury's Hotel, but also with members of the medical profession; the latter article
seems to have been aimed at persuading its readers to become patrons of the Turkish
baths, and to recommend them to their patients.
The building stretched back about 300ft and was fronted by 'a gently sloping
piazza' with separate entrances to the men's baths on the left,
and to the women's on the right.
baths were on the ground floor and arranged in three sections with a set
of slipper baths and showers leading off the entrance corridor. There were six baths,
with a patent shower which could be used with hot or cold water at
differing pressures. Also to
be found were sitz baths, foot sprays, and
seat sprays which could be 'regulated by the patient' and were
recommended for the treatment of piles.
area also included a Russian vapour bath, individual vapour bath
cabinets, shower, and needle bath and two 'magneto-electric'
At the end
of the baths corridor was a padroom—in which were stored pad slippers
(pattens), towels, and sheets—and a small private Turkish bath. Beyond this lay the restaurant and bar, neatly separating the
wet and dry bathing areas, and usable by patrons of both.
farther side of the restaurant was the cooling-room, which led on to the Turkish baths
smaller rooms where patrons could obtain the services of a chiropodist
or a hairdresser. At the far end of the cooling-room was a 4'6" deep
plunge pool with constantly running water and next to this the
attendant's room, complete with lift for taking soiled linen down to the
laundry in the basement.
Around the room were dressing
rooms entered through red and white striped curtains, with a second set
running round a
gallery. The cooling-room, in common with the rest of the Turkish baths,
was decorated in 'Turkish style'.
shampooing room was fitted with marble slabs, 'five spray shower baths
and tilt-over basins for douching'. Through a curtained doorway was the first, circular, hot room heated to between 130 and 150 degrees
Fahrenheit. At the end of this room, three steps led up to the second
room kept at around 180 degrees, while further on was the hottest room,
called the oven, where the temperature was between 240 and 260 degrees.
and walls of the hot rooms were covered in orname
ntal tiles and the
circular screen at the end of the second hot room and the oven was
'formed by orname
ntal terra-cotta panels of Oriental design, perforated
and glazed so as to allow the purer air to pass through.'
Fresh air entered the premises from 40
feet above ground level, was conducted through two large pipes to a
furnace, around which it passed and was heated. The hot air
through perforated porcelain walls into the hottest room, becoming a
gentle current as it flowed into the other rooms, escaping downwards
through pipes set in the floor.
cooling-room and hot rooms were furnished with 'spring wire-woven
couches' covered with felt for easy washing.
a Turkish bath varied according to the time of day. From nine in the
morning till six in the evening it cost 2/-. But this was reduced to
1/6d between six and nine in the morning, and to 1/- from six in the
evening till the baths closed at nine. Surprisingly, all these prices
The separate women's baths were unfinished at the
time these articles were written, but it appears that they were to be similar to the men's
baths but smaller, with a drawing room and a small select library
in place of a bar and, though this was not stated, probably to be
located on an upper floor of the building.
is not known when the women's baths actually opened. But it certainly
seems that they were either smaller than originally announced, or that
women bathers had to make do with temporary baths for the first year or
This was rectified towards the end of 1879 when an advertisement announced
that the proprietors had 'at a very considerable outlay…entirely
remodelled and enlarged the Ladies' Bath' which would open on
There was now a 'special hot chamber for ladies requiring a very high
temperature'. Notice also seems to have been taken of a generally
recognised women's preference for separate shower rooms, rather than a
communal shower area. As a final blandishment, it was announced that the
women's baths now included 'a handsome marble shampooing room.'
of course, be interesting to know why these facilities were not provided
when the baths first opened. Was the number of women bathers
underestimated? Or did women complain about their second class treatment?
It is not known how successful Millar & Jury, the
proprietors, were in attracting the medical profession, but they must
have been doing reasonably well because by 1881 they had purchased their
main rivals south of the River Liffey, the baths built by Richard Barter
Place (though he had ceased to be connected
with them nearly fifteen years earlier). Thereafter, both baths were
frequently advertised together until Lincoln Place was closed in 1900.
A year after the purchase of Lincoln Place,
William and James Sloane (who had been responsible for installing
the heating at both of the Jury and Millar baths) opened their own
Turkish and Warm Baths in Leinster Street, almost immediately
opposite the Lincoln Place Baths. Competition was strong and soon
Jury's were advertising that their second class Turkish bath in
Stephen's Green was 'the Cheapest Bath in Dublin, the charge being
only 6d at all hours of the day.'
The Sloanes were to increase competition further
when they opened a second establishment, the Central Turkish Baths at 3
Stephen's Green at the top of Grafton Street. There were now five
Turkish baths in Dublin and all were advertising regularly in the local
newspapers. Millar & Jury concentrated on popularising their second
class baths offering reduced rates if multiple tickets were purchased so
that, for example, 1/6d mid-day tickets were available for 15/- per
dozen, and shilling evening tickets at 9/- per dozen.
Neither were they averse to advertising their
baths as a way of warding off influenza when an outbreak was threatened
in 1892 and three years later the public was advised that 'If you want
to ward off the Influenza
take to the Turkish bath.
If you feel that you are Taking
the influenza take to the
Turkish bath And check its
getting hold of you, and so escape it altogether'.
Some time around 1925, the baths were bought by
George Lovell Ltd, a firm of caterers who ran them until at least 1927,
when Benjamin Boloshauer, won an action against the company for burns
suffered while using the baths. Boloshauer claimed that while sitting
close to the wall in the hot room he accidentally touched some of the
hot tiles and was badly burned on the shoulder. He won his claim, the
judge awarding him £10 and expenses because there was no warning
regarding the temperature of the walls, and no protection from them.
The baths remained open, though
whether they changed hands after the court case is not known. Small
classified ads occasionally appeared in the press in the years
following, and in 1931 a series of advertisements indicated that a
Madame Sircana was offering Weltmar massage there.
It is not known when the baths closed,
though they were still open on St Patrick's Day in 1933.
The building was
demolished in 1934 shortly after the auction by Jackson Stops & Joyce of
the fixtures and fittings on 24 and 25 May.
Ken Finlay, for
permission to use his image of the 1927 advertisement
Aida Yared, for permission to use her image of the 1895