Carlisle: James Street:
exterior, with modern entrance
and hanging sign

Exterior wall with modern entrance

When the Turkish baths were originally built they were added as an extension to the swimming pools and were not themselves adjacent to James Street. In order to reach them, bathers walked along an internal passage leading from the main baths entrance. The only side of the Turkish baths which could be seen from the street was the west wall.

Only later, after a two storey building incorporating the passageway was built in front of the Turkish baths, was a direct entrance added connecting the passage with James Street. This made for easier access for those who did not wish to use the swimming pools.

The hanging sign was added when the baths were outsourced to "Better" who use the term 'health suite' or 'spa' for the Turkish baths they manage.

Hanging sign

One could be forgiven for assuming that this was to hide them, so that fewer people would find and use these now rare examples of an important Victorian institution. This would make it easier to close and destroy important parts of our cultural heritage—parts which remind us of the time when few people had access to running water where they lived, and so relied on public slipper baths and Turkish baths for everyday hygiene.

We should not allow these living parts of our cultural heritage to be destroyed in this manner.

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Carlisle Turkish baths

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

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