Closures since 1990, and baths under threat

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

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Closures since 1990, and baths under threat

 

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When the Victorian Turkish Bath Project started collecting data in 1990, there were at least 34 Turkish baths built on the Victorian model still open in the British Isles, though there were no longer any in Ireland where they all started.

In November 1999, when this website first went online, there were only 24 Turkish baths remaining, and the last one in Wales had closed.

When this page was last revised, on 09 July 2017, there were only 12 remaining.


Turkish baths closed since 1990

ClosedLocationWhen open
1990 GLASGOW: Calder Street (99), Govanhill 1917—1990
1990 SHEFFIELD: Glossop Road / Victoria Street / Convent Walk 1877—1990
 1990+ BLACKPOOL: Warley Road, North Promenade   1965—1990+
1993 MANCHESTER: Victoria Baths, High Street, Chorlton-in-Medlock 1906—1993
1995 GLASGOW: Medwyn Street, Whiteinch 1926—1995
1996 ESTON: Normanby Road 1964—1996
1997 STANLEY: High Street 1975—1997
1998 STOCKTON-ON-TEES: Church Road 1969—1998
1998 CARDIFF: Wales Empire Pool 1958—1998
1998 GLOUCESTER: Barton Street 1891—1998
2000 GATESHEAD: Alexandra Road, Gateshead Leisure Centre 1981—2000
2001 EPSOM: East Street 1939—2001
2005 LONDON: Lewisham High Street 1965—2005
2007 WHITLEY BAY, The Links 1974—2007
2008 WORCESTER: Sansome Walk 1860—2008
2008 ABERDEEN: Justice Mill Lane 1940—2008
2008 DUNFERMLINE: Pilmuir Road 1905—2008
2010 NOTTINGHAM: Bath Street 1975—2010
2011 NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYNE: Marsh Street 1977—2011
2012 ROCHDALE: Entwistle Road 1937—2012
2013 NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE: Northumberland Road (Bath Road) 1928—2013
2013 DONCASTER: Waterdale 1932—2013
     

 

Turkish baths under threat

Closed Location When open
? BIRMINGHAM: Mason Road, Erdington 1925—
? SWINDON: Faringdon Road / Milton Road 1905—
     
 

Of the 12 remaining Turkish baths, one (Swindon) is under threat of closure, and a second (Birmingham) may also be under threat. The Swindon baths are especially important in the history of Victorian Turkish baths because, taken in conjunction with their earlier premises on the opposite side of Faringdon Road, they are the oldest extant Turkish bath institution in the world, having originally opened in 1868.

Of those remaining, three (two in Glasgow and one in London) are only open to members of the clubs which own them, leaving a grand total of nine Turkish baths currently open to members of the general public in the whole of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Of these nine, only the Turkish baths in Harrogate and Edinburgh were built during the reign of Queen Victoria. The baths owned by the two members' clubs in Glasgow were both built during Victoria's reign, while those in London's RAC Club and the public baths in Carlisle were designed during her reign and built shortly afterwards.

The baths at Nottingham were especially important as they were the last modern interpretation of the Victorian Turkish bath concept to be built in the final quarter of the twentieth century, 128 years after the first Manchester baths opened.

The Turkish Baths Suite at the local authority Glossop Road Baths, Sheffield—after being closed for several years—has been re-opened as a modern spa. While the appearance and shape of parts of the original building have been preserved and restored, they have all been put to new uses (including sauna, steam bath, and an ice room) but there is no longer a functioning Turkish bath, in spite of conditions made in response to public demand before the site was privately redeveloped.

There are only three bright spots on the horizon.

The possibility of eventually re-opening the superb Turkish Baths in the Victoria Baths complex at Manchester, the Govanhill baths in Glasgow, and the Northumberland Baths in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

 
This page last updated 09 July 2017
 

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March to protest at closure of the Victoria Baths, Manchester


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

 
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