Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for March 2008

James Street Turkish Baths, Carlisle:
earthenware corbel

Earthenware corbel
< Photo: Shifrin

One of a series of glazed earthenware corbels around the walls of the cooling-room at the James Street Turkish Baths in Carlisle. Also to be seen are a decorative wall tile and parts of the stained glass panels at the top of one of the changing cubicles.

These baths were not the first to be built on this site, Carlisle's Roman and vapour baths having been opened on 31 July 1884. It is not known exactly what the Roman baths were, but they might have been Turkish cabinet baths. A first class bath for a man or woman cost one shilling. 1

These later baths are still open and are currently known as the Victorian Health Suite. The baths, though designed during Victoria's reign, were subject to many delays during the planning stage and were not actually opened until 20 September 1909. 2

Apart from the cooling-room, the layout of the baths has been changed on a number of occasions, but those parts which remain are of outstanding quality.

The baths were temporarily closed by the local council in 1991, 3  but were re-opened after public protests. They are now under threat of permanent closure as an operational Turkish bath, although the building itself was Listed Grade II in 2010.

There is an illustrated article on the baths here.

This page last updated 01 January 2023

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  Malcolm Shifrin, 1991-2023

 1. A Barnes-Moss Post Office directory of Carlisle     [return]
 2. 'The Turkish Baths'     Carlisle Journal     (21 Sep 1909)     [return]
 3. 'Turkish Baths end'     Carlisle News     (22 Nov 1991)     [return]