Very little is known so far about this establishment, but thanks
to Paul, a visitor to the site, we are able
to publish what he calls a 'rather poor' photo showing the
baths in 1879. Yet such photos become valuable pieces of
evidence when trying to document the history of an institution like the
Victorian Turkish bath because so little evidence survives.
of the photograph (which has a caption suggesting how the
picture might be interpreted) it is possible to make out the
figures of a small girl and three men. The young girl is
understood by Paul's family to be his grandmother Maud.2
likely that among the men in the photo, one is her father John
Bryning, and another is his brother James W Bryning, the
of the Turkish bath.
If little is known
about the Surrey Turkish Baths, we do know something about
their owner's high opinion of the bath for, in a letter sent in
1873 in response to a questionnaire from Richard Metcalfe,3
as a remedial agent, and a means of
cleansing, there is no bath equal to the Turkish. It may be
given to the youngest infant, or the oldest person, with perfect
safety and great benefit.
As to getting the poor to take the bath,
let it be ever so cheap, this must take time. They, like the
rich, have their prejudices, and being uneducated, you cannot
persuade them that it is either necessary or beneficial,
therefore, it makes it a work of time.
When you find prejudice in educated
medical men, you cannot wonder that the masses should be so.
James W Bryning emigrated to North
America in 1887 so it may be that he retained ownership of the bath
until that date, selling it on to James Spurway just before he left.
account should be treated as work in progress. Further research
is needed to fill in such details as the facilities available,
and the ownership of the baths after 1879.
a visitor to the site
The original page
and a thumbnail picture which can be enlarged.
An enlargement of the picture can also be found at:
Surrey Turkish Baths, 1879
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