Advert for the Argyll Baths
Medium: Print on paper
Turkish baths were very popular during the 19th century, although they were not strictly ‘Turkish’ so much as a reinvention of the traditional Roman baths. They comprised a series of progressively hotter dry rooms, interspersed with cold plunge pools and icy showers. The Victorians believed that the heat would improve the complexion, boost the immune system, palliate liver problems and rheumatism, and help to reduce anxiety generally. The first baths were opened in Ireland in 1856, and soon there were as many as 600 throughout Britain, about 100 of which were in London.
This leaflet advertises the baths in Argyle Street, just off Regent Street in London. These baths opened in 1871 and closed in 1902. The list of different baths includes a cold bath for a single shilling, arsenic or creosote baths for three shillings and sixpence, and the ultimate experience of an electric bath costing 5 shillings.