Victorian Turkish Baths is the first book to bring to light the hidden history of a fascinating institution - the 600-plus dry hot air baths that sprang up across Ireland, Britain and beyond, in the 19th century.
Malcolm Shifrin traces the bath's Irish-Roman antecedents, looking at how its origins were influenced by the combination of physician Richard Barter's hydropathic expertise, and idiosyncratic diplomat David Urquhart's passion for the hammams of the Middle East.
The book reveals how working-class members of a network of political pressure groups built more than 30 of the first Turkish baths in England. It explores the architecture, technology and sociology of the Victorian Turkish bath, examining everything from business and advertising to sex-real and imagined. This book offers a wealth of wondrous detail - from the baths used to treat sick horses to those for first-class passengers on the Titanic.
Victorian Turkish Baths will appeal to those interested in Victorian social history, architecture, social attitudes to leisure, early public health campaigns, pressure groups, gendered spaces and much else besides. The book is complemented by the author's widely respected website victorianturkishbath.org, where readers can find a treasure trove of further information.
Malcolm Shifrin is a former librarian and has written extensively on the fascinating history and sociology of the bath.
1. Background to the Victorian Turkish bath 2. Early history of the Victorian Turkish bath 3. Problems and attitudes 4. Victorian Turkish baths for all 5. The world of the bather 6. Victorian Turkish baths in the 21st century