Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for September 2009

Glasgow Corporation Baths & Wash-houses:
cash register keys

Glasgow Corporation Baths Cash Register keys
< Photo: reproduced by courtesy of Doug Stallan

Doug Stallan, who took this photograph of the keys of a cash register once used by Glasgow Corporation at their Osborne Street baths, calls his image Bathhouse & steamie: social history recorded in buttons—and social history describes it with total accuracy.

The illustrated keys read (top to bottom and left to right):

adult hot bath; juvenile hot bath; turkish; sun r w/turkish; o.a.p.; towel
bath cubes; shampoo; Luma; washing machine; stall; drying tumbler

and indicated what baths and treatments were available, as well as what clothes washing facilities could be found in the 'steamie'.

After taking a Turkish bath,  it was thought that exposure to a sun ray lamp (precursor of the sunbed)  would be beneficial.  Today, however, we are rather more aware of the dangers of too much sunlight, whether it be natural or artificial. The shampoo would have been what we now call a massage and Luma seems to have been some kind of detergent. 

Because there were no Turkish baths at the Osborne Street baths we can deduce that the corporation used similar cash registers at each of their baths. It is also worth noting that, unlike local authority baths in England and Wales, none of Glasgow's baths had separate first and second class sessions or facilities, although Old Age Pensioners and children paid lower rates.

Entry revised and slightly enlarged, 8 March 2010

Thank you icon



Doug Stallan for permission to reproduce his photograph, Bathhouse & steamie

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