Source: Skegness Herald 1883
This news article from an 1883 issue of the Skegness Herald newspaper gives the best description I have yet encountered of the Victorian baths in Scarbrough Avenue, Skegness.
THE NEW TURKISH, HOT AND COLD BATHS
We have been favoured with an inspection of the new hot, cold, swimming and Turkish baths, which have been built by a company, at a cost of about £3,000, from designs by Mr. James Whitton, of Lincoln, architect, the contractor being Mr. George Dunkley, of Skegness.
The baths are situate in Scarbrough Avenue, on the left hand side going from the pier to the church, The elevations are pleasing and characteristic ; there are two entrances from the avenue, the one nearest the pier being for ladies, the other for the gentlemen.
Each side of the, building is quite distinct and separate from the other. In the central portion on the ground-floor, are the manager’s offices, and over these his residence.
Both sides of the building are alike, except as to size. On entering first the gentlemen’s side we pass through a neat though small vestibule to the pay office, where bathing dresses and towels will be provided. If we wish to have a swim we descend a few steps on the right (advantage having been taken of the natural low level of the site to obtain increased height of the building, and a better fall from the sea without adding to the cost).
The swimming bath is 63 feet long by 30 feet wide, and three feet six inches deep at one end and six feet six inches at the other. There are twenty shut-up dressing boxes round the bath.
The ladies’ baths on the opposite side being 40 feet by 30 feet ; three feet deep at one end and five feet at the other, round which are placed twelve shut-up dressing boxes.
These baths will be supplied with water direct from the sea, partly by gravitation and partly by pumping, a powerful steam pump being provided for that purpose. Provision is made for warming the water when required.
The roof of the swimming baths are open timbered, stained and varnished, and will be useful for suspending apparatus for teaching swimming; they are lighted by skylights
by windows facing the avenue, which as well as all other windows are glazed with obscured sea-green tinted glass.
On returning to the lobby and passing through a doorway we enter a corridor, on one side of which are four fixed baths in private rooms with fireplaces; a similar number being on the ladies’ side.
The baths are of white glazed porcelain, that being the only enamel that will withstand salt water. They are full size, flat bottomed, and of the most approved shape, and are supplied with hot and cold sea water.
All the pipes are out of sight, being on the street level ample space is left under the baths for examination and repairs of the piping without disturbing the floor or wall plastering. Passing along the corridor and down a broad short staircase we arrive at the Turkish baths.
It is intended to use this department on alternate or other days for ladies. A similar entrance is made from the corridor on the ladies’ side.
First we enter a large vestibule in which is the waiting-room, thence to a corridor having on one side the dressing-rooms, and a doorway on the opposite side leads to the three hot rooms, each of different temperature, the hottest being the far one. These rooms are separated by a curtain over each of the doorways, as no ordinary door would stand the heat.
Returning through these rooms we come to the shampooing room which is provided with a hot and cold freshwater spray, and from thence to a small sea-water plunge bath, if the bather wish it.
Close by is the large and handsome lounge or cooling-room, 26 feet by 24 feet, and 16 feet high. Here will be placed couches where the bather can lie an hour or so wrapped in sheets or blankets until he gets thoroughly cool and comfortable, enjoying at the same time his cigar, coffee, or newspaper. The heating of this department is by a, stove, out of sight, by the “Whitaker Heating Apparatus Company,” of Bolton, Lancashire. The stove is automatic in its action thus rendering over-heating impossible.
The heated air is first drawn into the hottest room passing through the other rooms. At the end farthest from the stove are gratings near the floor into which the warm air is drawn and returned to the stove by an air-flue which forms a seat, the heated air being thus in constant circulation no further ventilation is required. The stove also heats the water for shampooing purposes.
A passage from the Turkish bath entrance vestibule leads to the working department,
working where is a steam pump by Tangyes, Limited, Birmingham, capable of delivering about 4000 gallons an hour into two 500 gallon cisterns, for hot and cold water in the room above to supply the several baths, the hot one being heated by steam from the pump boiler. Here also are the wash-house and necessary out-officials.
The directors at a meeting last week expressed their high approval of the arrangements and on the way in which the works had been carried out. It is intended to open the Baths on Whit-Monday.
A competent manager has been appointed in Mr. Gray, who resides on the premises, and the baths will no doubt prove a boon to the inhabitants of Skegness and neighbourhood, as well as a source of attraction to excursionists.
Dr. Thimbleby says of them : “The Turkish baths are fitted up with every convenience, and great care has been taken to secure thorough and proper ventilation, freedom from draught, and an equal temperature. The Turkish baths have a tendency quietly and gently to draw away from the body gout, rheumatism, lithic, and mineral and animal poisons, and morbid deposits of every kind by washing the blood of its impurities.”
The capital of the Company is £3,000 divided into 600 shares of £5 each. The shares have been well subscribed for, but there are still a number un-allotted. Messrs. Garfit and Co., Spilsby, Skegness, etc., are the bankers, and Messrs. Thimbleby and Son, solicitors of Spilsby, the solicitors and secretaries to the Company.
The Victorian baths were extensively damaged by bombs in World War 2 and were subsequently demolished in the 1950s.
More about Victorian Turkish Baths