Trollope's Jermyn Street Turkish bath:
in which of the two Jermyn Street baths
did Trollope's story open?

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

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Numbers 76 and 92 Jermyn Street

The note on page 582 of John Sutherland’s World’s Classics edition of Trollope’s The Turkish Bath in the volume Later Short Stories reads:

A Turkish Bath in Jermyn Street: ie, The Savoy Turkish Baths at 92 Jermyn Street. The building (designed by George Somers Clarke) was opened in 1862 and demolished in 1976…

Although this information appears in several other works—including The Survey of London, the first edition of The London Encyclopaedia, and Sarah Perrin’s St James’ London—it is, unfortunately, incorrect.

Between 1910 and 1941 there were two Turkish baths in Jermyn Street. The first of these—the one which Trollope used to visit—was the famous Hammam built by George Somers Clarke behind an existing hotel at number 76 Jermyn Street, and opened in 1862 by the London & Provincial Turkish Bath Co Ltd. This was built to the detailed design of David Urquhart who was initially responsible for its management.

These baths closed in 194o, just a few months before the building was destroyed at 3.00 a.m. on 17 April 1941 during the London blitz. A modern office block now stands on the site of the entrance to the baths, but the area behind the building, where the actual Turkish bath stood, is mainly open and used as a private car park leading off Bury Street. Peeking inside one can see where the cooling-room and hot rooms stood and get an idea of their overall length. 

The second establishment was located at 92 Jermyn Street. This was opened in 1910 by Henry Adams and bought in 1912 by William Cooper who later set up a company to run a number of similar baths. The Savoy Turkish Baths at No.92 was the last of these to survive, remaining open till 1975.

At the rear of the site is Ormond's Restaurant, within which the only vestige of the baths is a single beautiful wooden panel, while the Jermyn Street entrance to the baths now leads to Messrs Harvie and Hudson's shirt shop.

The first part (of four) of an article on Urquhart's London Hammam can be found here. An article on the Savoy Baths at N0.92 will appear in due course. In the meantime illustrations of both baths can be found under the heading London: Jermyn Street in the Images index and gallery.   

 

This page last modified 07 September 2016

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Photo of Anthony Trollope

Joan Hassall's wood engraving from the Folio Society edition ofTrollope's story


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