The Shampooers' wages
(as noted above) Urquhart and his supporters argued that Turkish
baths were most needed in areas of poverty, they soon tended to become
established in the better off areas. In considering the shampooers'
wages it must be remembered that the three establishments visited by
Booth's interviewers were all in the West End of London. Mr Nevill's
view was that,
bathing is a rich man’s luxury & not a
poor man’s necessity.’ No man takes a
turkish bath unless he is earning £200 per
year: naturally there are some exceptions,
sick working men, etc.
So before considering the shampooers'
wages at that time, it
is worth taking note of the cost of a Turkish bath at each of the three
establishments visited, and at two others for purposes of comparison.
other Turkish baths
each of these establishments, the second class baths were the same as
the first class baths but the cheaper rate was limited to special times,
usually in the evening. A few baths actually had separate Second Class
facilities of a lower standard, but none of these was surveyed by Booth.
In London, according to Nevill, the
Standard wage of
a shampooer is 20/- [per week]
yet this is the lowest amount paid at
any of the three establishments surveyed. At Nevill's,
pay 22/- simply to be able to say that ‘Nevills pays more than anyone
moneytaker at each bath. He is the Superintendent & the whole place
is under his control. He is paid from 30/- to 40/- per week & a
share in the cooling-room attendants gratuities which amount to about
10/- per week.
whereas at Bartholomew's and at the
Hammam wages are related to experience:
paid to a Shampooer by his master varies from 20/- to 30/-, according to
their a/c and experience. Mr Kenny has five of whom one gets 30/-, two
25/-, and two 20/-.
Sixteen Shampooers are employed at the Hammam. The Foreman is paid
30/- a week; the others with one exception 22/6;
the youngest man gets 20/-.
is interesting to note that the rate at the Hammam is actually less than
it was 34 years earlier when the baths opened in 1862. Urquhart got the
Board to agree,
Heronymus to be retained as Head Shampooer [ie, Chief Shampooer] at
£2-2-0 per week and ten shampooers to be engaged at £1-5-0 per week.
But formal wages paid
in Turkish baths are determined by
a number of other factors, especially location and economic level of the
clientele, both of which directly affect the other important component
of a shampooers' income, bathers' tips. (These are treated more fully in
Referring to an establishment not his
own, Nevill told his interviewer that,
In one worse & dirty bath where few go & tips are rare, a shampooer is given 28/-.
Mr Kenny also referred to some of the
At other West End Baths they keep a larger staff of
shampooers, and the men do not earn so much from tips but may get rather
higher wages. In second and third class baths the wage is probably about
30/- but the tips certainly do
not amount to more than 10/- or 12/- per man.
Even so, at Nevill's establishments,
the different types of clientele do not seem to have been taken into
Shampooers wherever employed in their houses get
22/-. Never shift a man from one bath to another. The Paddington men are worst off of all: the
customers there are much less self indulgent & also more parsimonious. Things are cheaper at
Paddington than elsewhere. eg butter 1d a lb cheaper. plaster of Paris ½d per bag. Wanted
to know the reason why.
while Nevill paid the same wages at each of his establishments, the
charge for a Turkish bath was more expensive at Northumberland Avenue
than at his other baths. Yet he still maintained that,
men make better money than at any other baths
in London, but all shampooers make good money.
will come as no surprise to learn that this 'standard' rate of pay did
not apply to all his employees.
shampooers make much less, ie 14/- per week and
gratuities come to about another 10/-. Tried
to open ladies bath at Paddington but ‘Paddington
women wont take Turkish bath.’
boys working in the cooling-rooms fare even less well:
employed at 15 yrs of age at 1/- per week
as a significant part of their work would be serving refreshments, it
must be assumed that tips were virtually mandatory.
also provided some information about Turkish baths outside London:
the country tips are smaller & shampooers get
30/- per week.
while this may have been true for privately owned establishments, his
remarks were not borne out by at least one Turkish bath run as part of a
large Public Baths facility, the Barton Road Baths in Gloucester.
a male shampooer earned 25/- per week. Well-trained
shampooers tended to move around the country and, two years after
Booth's survey, Gloucester Corporation wrote to Nevill's asking whether they could 'recommend a first-class Shampooer'. Whether
Nevill's recommendation was accepted is not known but they appointed
Mr 'James Mayer, who had been employed at the Turkish Bath in Leicester
know of two other members of staff at Gloucester: a boy assisting in the
Turkish bath earned 8/- per week and Mrs Turner, the female shampooer,
was 'to attend when required and to be paid 4/- for each day she
attends.' Since the Turkish baths were only open to women two days per
week, Mrs Turner's earnings amounted to 8/-.
Pro rata, this was more than Nevill's paid.
interviewers were keen to find out whether the shampooers' income was
sufficient to allow them to save for the future. Here the interviewees
were in total agreement. Nevill maintained that shampooers
Are not a saving race.
All men that get their money so uncertainly
spend quickly & don’t save.…
He has 6
men over 50, but cant say they have saved a
contact with rich men for the most part is not
conducive to saving. Customers talk a good deal &
suggest new wants (though indirectly) to shampooers. Besides they have to live well themselves to
Men as a rule are very
improvident, and with a very long experience Mr Kenny can only remember
one man who had really saved and kept anything. It is very common for a
man to save about £10 and start in some small business, but they nearly
always fail and want to come back again. A great deal of money is spent
But only the Hammam made any positive
attempts to encourage the men to save.
The men are not provident: Mr Waugh has tried hard to induce them to
lay by some 2d a week to add to a sum given by the Directors many years
ago as the nucleus of a sick fund, but none of them would consent to do
so, and as soon as they get into any trouble they usually want help.
Tips, tipping, and total income