The Royal Gloucester Subscription Baths were the last throw of Southampton as a fashionable seaside resort. Situated on the Beach near the Platform, the original baths were opened in 1826. Built by Daniel Brooks, they were in the Grecian style of architecture, “from a very chaste design” by George Draper, architect of Chichester, and in emulation of the baths in Cheltenham. The first superintendent, Mr. J. Trinder, came from that town. The baths were of marble and consisted of warm, cold, shower, vapour, sulphur, medicinal & plunging baths. The baths were renamed the Royal Gloucester Baths in 1829 when they were acquired by the young entrepreneur Thomas Hoystrop.

The baths were not a great financial success, partly because of their location on the periphery of the town, a situation which became even more unfortunate in the late 1830s when the docks were built in close proximity. The baths were closed down in 1838 and the baths company wound up in April 1840. The building was converted to a temporary Docks Office in 1839 and demolished in 1846 to make way for the new Customs House.

Royal Gloucester Baths

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Royal Gloucester Subscription Baths. Drawn by R. Scrutton; printed by Engelmann, Graf, Coindet and Co. of Soho; published by H. Buchan, 1827

A View of Southampton from the Water

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Drawn by Robert Mimpress, 1827. The baths can be seen on the far right of the shoreline.

Detail from A View of Southampton from the Water by Robert Mimpress, 1827

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Close-up of the baths in Mimpress's drawing.

Further reading:
‘The Baths on the Beach, by Richard Preston’, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 19, Spring 2012, p 11-19. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p17. (HS/h)


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