Turkish baths in London

 

Wimbledon: The Broadway
Wimbledon Theatre

  

                           

This is a single frame, printer-friendly page taken from

one of the linked parts of an article published on Malcolm Shifrin's website

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

        

Original illustrated page with chronology, notes, and links


List of other Turkish baths in London

                           

 

 

Wimbledon Theatre

4: the Turkish baths

But all in all, what remains of the original Turkish baths is quite remarkable. 

The walls of all the rooms and the staircase are faced with white glazed bricks, with a green glazed brick double dado at about hand height. The floor, seating shelves, and walls of the plunge pool are also faced with white glazed bricks, and the room floors are of terrazzo.

Like the shampooing slabs, the seats in the hot rooms were originally of marble but these were also removed at some stage by a previous occupant. In the restored baths, the original benches have been given new tops to support cushions. Tables and additional seats have been fitted so as to optimise the use of the available space and adapt it to fulfil its new function. The rectangular hot room has a bar and a booth for a DJ.

Perhaps the most radical alteration has been the installation of tables and chairs on the floor of the plunge pool. Some might object to this, but it seems to me that this is far better than boarding them over and hiding them again.

And if the idea of having a drink in the middle of a plunge pool seems strange, it is hardly new; in 1892, a civic dinner to mark the opening of new public baths in Southampton was held with the guests seated at tables on the floor of the women's swimming pool 

Turkish bath enthusiasts will surely appreciate that new fixtures (like, for example, the handrails) have not been made to look as if they are of the same period as the original baths, but stand out immediately as modern functional necessities. 

On the other hand, when items have necessarily been removed from an area, it is not immediately obvious that a now cosy alcove was originally a shower.

For more than six decades, no one has thought to restore the old baths as part of their business plan—or if they did, they must have been dissuaded by the cost. We must be grateful that so much of this unique Turkish bath can be seen once again and wish Steve a well-deserved success in his venture.
                    

 
 
           

Tijen Selim O'Reilly
Steve Sotiriou
Mike Lyas

                 

 
 


The original page includes thumbnail pictures which can be enlarged.
All the enlarged images, listed and linked below, can also be printed.

Bar in the second hot room

Hot room number two

Hot rooms after restoration

Looking into the warm room towards the bar

Plunge pool, before and after restoration

Shower 'cabin', before and after restoration

Stepped seats in the plunge pool

Terrazzo floor

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

Comments and queries are most welcome and can be sent to:

malcolm@victorianturkishbath.org

The right of Malcolm Shifrin to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him
in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988