Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Bath House Day, Part 3 - The English

Part three of Bath House Day takes us to England.  As London and other English cities became more crowded during the Industrial Revolution, hygenic concerns led to the construction of public bath houses as early as 1842.  They ranged from the very simple and utilitarian in working class neighborhoods to posh facilities at gentlemen's clubs.  The scene above from 1900 is the shampooing room at the Jermyn Street Turkish Bath in London which was built to resemble a hammam.  Apparently, this was a middle class establishment, and a contemporary description went:

"Then one is conducted to the shampooing room, and whilst reposing on a marble slab, one is massaged by light-handed attendants. That process is followed by a series of brushes and different soaps; and after a variety of shower douches and a plunge into cold water, the bath is complete. A sojourn in a lofty cooling room, a quiet smoke, or a light meal, and one sallies forth to a new being. A visit to the gallery of the attendant hairdressers makes perfection more perfect."



  1. Many years ago, I visited Porchester Baths in Bayswater, London with a friend. Wonderful. Most men were naked, including in the gymnasium area. Some were gay, others just liked being nude. A totally relaxed environment.