New Jacket Front

Published by Historic England (formerly part of English Heritage) in 2015
Published in North America by The University of Chicago Press in 2016
Hardback  366 pages   276mm x 219mm   ISBN: 978-1-84802-230-0

 

Also available online from a variety of booksellers at varying prices
which often change day by day.


Written in non-technical language, with over 480 illustrations, 5 maps, endnotes, a full bibliography, and an illustrated glossary, the book examines all aspects of the baths.


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The glossary
Ch  4: The birth of the Roman-Irish, or Victorian Turkish bath
Ch  5: Urquhart, his committees, and their Turkish baths
Ch  6: Dr Barter and the bath in Ireland
Ch  7: The Victorian Turkish bath travels overseas
Ch 11: 19th-Century attitudes to the Victorian Turkish bath
Ch 12: Ownership
Ch 13: Housing the Victorian Turkish bath
Ch 18: The Turkish bath in asylums
Ch 20: The Turkish bath in hydros and hotels
Ch 26: Victorian women and the Turkish bath
Ch 27: Victorian Turkish baths: 'sites of sex and sociability'?
Ch 29: Advertising the Victorian Turkish bath
Ch 30: Victorian Turkish baths today and tomorrow
Index 1: Turkish baths open to the public
Index 2: Turkish baths for special classes of user
Index 3: People
Index 4: Subject index


Victorian Turkish Baths, the result of 25 years’ research, is the first book to bring to light the hidden history of a fascinating institution—the dry hot air baths that sprang up in their hundreds across Ireland, Britain and beyond, in the 19th century.

Malcolm Shifrin traces the bath’s Irish-Roman antecedents, looking at how its origins were influenced by a combination of the Irish physician Richard Barter’s hydropathic expertise, and the idiosyncratic diplomat David Urquhart's passion for the hammams of the Middle East.

The book reveals how working-class members of a network of political pressure groups built more than 30 of the first Turkish baths in England. It explores the architecture, technology and sociology of the Victorian Turkish bath, examining everything from business and advertising to sex—real and imagined. The book offers a wealth of wondrous detail—from the baths used to treat sick horses to those for first-class passengers on the Titanic.

Victorian Turkish Baths will appeal to those interested in Victorian social history, architecture, social attitudes to leisure, early public health campaigns, pressure groups, gendered spaces and much else besides. The book is complemented by the author’s website The Victorian Turkish bath: its origin, development, & gradual decline where readers can find a treasure trove of further information.

 

See what reviewers and some of the first readers of the book have to say about it here.

About the Author

Former librarian Malcolm Shifrin has always loved Turkish baths, saunas, spas and long sandy beaches.

An intriguing monogram, on a stained glass panel, set him on the detective trail, uncovering the hidden history of the Victorian Turkish bath. His research led him to create the widely respected website victorianturkishbath.org in 1998, the main reference point on the subject until this book.

Malcolm has written extensively on the fascinating history and sociology of this Victorian institution—and its impact on popular culture through the decades—producing magazine articles and academic papers as well as delivering lectures and talks.

Guardian Architecture and Design critic Oliver Wainwright says of his website, ‘The development and evolution of the Victorian Turkish bath is brilliantly documented by Malcolm Shifrin’, while Reuters describes him as ‘a Turkish-bath maven’.

 

Malcolm has an MA in modern history from Royal Holloway University of London.

Contents
I.     Background to the Victorian Turkish bath
         1. Introduction: what is a Victorian Turkish bath?
         2. Early communal hot-air baths
         3. The British ‘discovery’ of the ‘Turkish’ bath
II.    Early history of the Victorian Turkish bath
         4. The birth of the Roman-Irish or Victorian Turkish bath
         5. David Urquhart, his Foreign Affairs Committees, and their baths
         6. Dr Richard Barter and the bath
         7. The Victorian Turkish bath travels overseas
         8. Building the Jermyn Street Hammam
         9. The Jermyn Street Hammam, 1862-1941
III.   Problems and attitudes
       10. Early problems and controversies
       11. 19th century attitudes to the Victorian Turkish bath
IV.   Victorian Turkish baths for all
       12. Ownership
       13. Housing the baths
       14. Commercial Turkish baths
       15. Municipal Turkish baths
       16. Turkish baths for the working classes
       17. The Turkish bath in the workhouse
       18. The Turkish bath in asylums
       19. The Turkish bath in hospitals
       20. The Turkish bath in hydros and hotels
       21. The Turkish bath in ‘members only’ clubs
       22. Turkish baths in private houses
       23. The Turkish bath at sea
       24. The portable Turkish bath
       25. Turkish baths for animals
V.    The world of the bather
       26. Victorian women and the Turkish bath
       27. Victorian Turkish baths: ‘sites of sex and sociability’?
       28. Inside the Victorian Turkish bath
       29. Advertising the Victorian Turkish bath
VI.   Victorian Turkish baths in the 21st century
       30. Victorian Turkish baths today and tomorrow