Washhouses Historical Archive
A most interesting site dealing with the
baths and wash-houses first brought together by the Baths and Wash-houses Acts
of 1846 and 1847, written and compiled
by Carl Evans, Past President of the Institute of Baths & Recreation
Management, and author of Health & fitness centres: a guide to their
management & operation (Longmans, 1992)
Association for Victorian Studies
The British Association for Victorian Studies is a multi-disciplinary
organisation, dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of
knowledge about the Victorian period and the wider nineteenth century.
Its members, both from the UK and elsewhere, are drawn from the academic
community and the general public. Art, culture, history, literarture,
music, theatre, and much else, all come within its remit.
British Naturism (formerly
Central Council for British Naturism)
A first-class site,
chock-a-block full of information about British Naturism. Representing
more than 25,000 naturists in the UK, BN promotes naturism as a
friendly, relaxing way to enjoy one’s holidays and leisure time. Naturism is
about accepting and respecting oneself and other people, just as they are, and
about being in harmony with the natural environment. Many of us join the
millions of holidaymakers visiting naturist resorts in Europe and beyond each
year, but the UK also has beaches, swimming pools and clubs which welcome
naturists. Many of us belong to clubs which hire or even own their own saunas
and swimming pools, enabling families to use such facilities together, without
the unnecessary encumbrance of swimming costumes. Some clubs use local authority
pools, saunas, and Turkish baths, and one or two are fortunate enough to use a
Victorian Turkish bath.
Sweat (the illustrated history and description of the Finnish sauna,
Russian bania, Islamic hammam, Mexican temescal, and American Indian and
Eskimo sweatlodge) is a fascinating book on the whole range
of baths designed to make you do just that. It has, unfortunately, been
out of print for far too long and secondhand copies, as I can sadly
confirm, are very hard to find. For those unlucky enough not to own a
copy, Mikkel has compiled a website based on the book—and an
exceptionally fine site it is too. Visit it, and enjoy!
The Ephemera Society
The Ephemera Society
is a non-profit body concerned with the collection, preservation, study
and educational uses of printed and handwritten ephemera. The term
ephemera covers a wide range of documents including leaflets,
handbills, tickets, trade cards, programmes and playbills, printed tins
and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more.
In the absence of any modern history of the Victorian Turkish bath,
important information—which is often unavailable elsewhere—can sometimes
be found in ephemera such as, for example, leaflets and tickets.
The Finnish Sauna Society
The comprehensive website for anyone who is interested in the sauna, whether as
an experienced bather or just as someone who wants to find out more about it.
The Finnish Sauna Society is 'a private cultural association founded in
1937 to foster the heritage of the national bath' and has around 2800 members.
Its function is 'to preserve the traditional native sauna culture, spread
information about it, correct wrong impressions about the sauna, emphasize the
meaning of sauna bathing for a healthy life and also to develop the sauna of the
present day'. The sauna societies of six other countries have joined with the
Finnish society to form the
International Sauna Society.
Friends of Victoria Baths;
The Victoria Baths Trust
Manchester's Victoria Baths (which included a fine Turkish bath suite) were
closed in 1993 after nearly ninety years of service to the community and despite
a vigorous public campaign which led to the formation of the Friends of Victoria
Baths and the Victoria Baths Trust. Both related groups continue to
campaign for the re-opening of the baths as part of a Healthy Living Centre for
Central Manchester. The Friends welcome all who wish to join them. The current
annual subscription is a minimum of £5 (£1 unwaged) which should be sent to the
Membership Secretary: Gill Wright, Studio 20, Imex Business Park, Hamilton Road,
Longsight, Manchester, M13 0PD Tel: 0161 224 2020
Anthony Weir's interesting and unusual site is about the beehive-shaped
Irish Sweathouses which Dr Richard Barter took as a model for his first
experimental Turkish bath at St Ann's Hydropathic Establishment, Blarney,
Co. Cork in 1856. Includes many photographs of these small, rare,
beehive-shaped, corbelled structures of field-stones, usually less than 2
metres in external height and diameter, with very small 'creep' entrances
which may have been blocked by clothing, or by temporary doors of
peat-turves, or whatever came to hand. Most of those which survive could
not have accommodated more than three or four sweaters.
This excellent site by
Ruslan Sudentas on the Russian bath, or bania, first
appeared in the autumn of 2005. There are illustrated pages describing the
bath and how to take one, on health aspects and the use of venik
fragrant bundle of birch tree twigs), together with notes on the history
of the Russian bath. For those visiting, or living in, New York or Chicago
there are pages listing and describing local bania, together with maps
showing how to get there.
The Sacred narghile
First-class site about the Narghile (Hookah or Shisha) by K Chaouachi,
author of Le Narguilé : Anthropologie d’un mode d’usage de drogues
(Paris : L’Harmattan , 1997), probably the definitive work on middle eastern
waterpipe culture and history. The site is a non-commercial research site and
does not aim to promote the use of tobacco. There are also versions in
Steam-rolled in Istanbul
Miki Dedijer, from
Sweden, describes his visit to two present-day hammams in Istanbul. With five
photographs, including one of a stoker feeding wood-chips into the boiler which
heats the air.
Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society
Since 1981 the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society has served as
Britain’s national society responsible for the study and protection of tiles and
architectural ceramics, uniting people with common interests. TACS members
receive a variety of beautifully illustrated and well-researched publications,
and are able to visit places of ceramic interest, many of which are not normally
open to the public.
hammams: the steam paradise
A well-designed and
illustrated site on the Islamic hammams of Turkey which helps to clarify
the differences between the hammam and the Victorian Turkish bath. There
are pages on the Turkish bath culture, the history and architecture of
the hammam, instructions on how to make henna tattoos and soap, and
particularly interesting pages on the best hammams to visit in Istanbul
and the Turkish hammam as seen by western orientalist painters such as
Gérôme, Ingres, Ponsan and Bouchard.
Victoria Research Web
The website for anyone interested in things Victorian. The Victoria Research Web
(created and maintained, like the
discussion list, by Patrick Leary) is dedicated to the scholarly study of
nineteenth-century Britain, and to aiding researchers, teachers, and students in
their investigations of any and all aspects of this fascinating period. In it,
you will find not only such items as an archive catalogue, a bibliography, a
journal’s submission guidelines, or a sample syllabus, but also such
practicalities as a place to stay in London.
The Victorian Society
The Victorian Society was founded in 1958 to fight the then widespread
hatred of 19th and early 20th century architecture. The Society still campaigns
for buildings, but it has a wider role to promote the understanding of Victorian
and Edwardian history and culture. In addition to the voluntary help provided by
its members, the Society employs a number of staff to service the membership,
save buildings and offer advice.
An early campaign of the Society was for the preservation of FitzRoy Doll's
Imperial Turkish Baths in Russell Square which, despite all its hard work, were
demolished in 1966.
The Victorian Society in America
The Victorian Society in America was founded in 1966,
sparked by outrage at the destuction two years earlier of New York's magnificent
Pennsylvania Station. It works to ensure that other important structures do not
fall to the wrecker's ball, and since then, has contributed to the preservation
of many historic buildings. The society also organises and promotes
publications, symposia, architectural tours, and summer schools in
Newport, Rhode Island, and in London.
superb website on workhouses—containing a wealth of fascinating
information, beautifully illustrated with his own photographs, together
with maps, plans, bibliography, and much else—is a model of how an
easy-to-use website should be. Full information about those workhouses
where Turkish baths are currently known to have been in use can be found