Turkish baths in London

282 Goswell Road

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

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Nothing is so far known about the Turkish baths themselves, save that they had 'marble floors and shampooing tables', cost 1/-, and were initially open from 8am till 9pm. Eight years later, they were still only 1/-, but the hours had been extended by an hour at each end of the day.

The baths were among those relatively few establishments which remained open for more than fifty years, and from correspondence with Barbara Curry and Peter Collingwood, we also know that part of this longevity was due to the baths being run by members of a single family from its inception till 1906.

The first owner, William Turner, a fixture dealer of Vine Street, had originally set up a Turkish bath on Boxing Day 1860 at 17 Goswell Road, so that it could be managed by his eldest daughter Susannah's husband Samuel Curry. By the end of the following year, the baths were probably already considered too small, and so Turner moved his establishment further up the road to number 282.

Samuel followed his father-in-law's practice by retiring in 1887, aged 57, and handing the baths over to his own son-in-law, Frederick J Fairhead, who had married his own daughter, also called Susannah. But by 1889, Frederick had died and the baths were now owned by his widow. Susannah continued to run them till her own death in 1906. There were other family members who were connected with baths of one sort or another. The most successful of these seems to have been Felix Henry Wood who married Samuel's daughter Sophia. They lived in Oxford where Felix owned, or possibly just managed, a new Turkish, Shower and Plunge Baths establishment at 36 Hythe Bridge Road.

This page last revised and enlarged 27 January 2019

Thank you icon


Peter Collingwood and Barbara Curry for indispensable help with

   William Turner's family tree

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