Featured Article: The Turkish Baths

One of the many amenities aboard Olympic and Titanic was a spa complex for the First Class passengers known as the Turkish Baths. Only one other White Star liner had this feature and that was the RMS Adriatic of 1906. The Turkish Baths were decorated in a mix of Arabic styles to evoke a Turkish hammam. There was a Hot Room, Temperate Room, Cooling Room, Steam Room, Electric Bath, and two Shampoo Rooms where massages were performed. 

The Cooling Room

Titanic's Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths,
taken the day before the ship's departure
from Southampton

The Cooling Room was the central feature of the complex. The walls were adorned with glossy blue-green tiles, carved teak woodwork, and bronze lamps. Against one wall was a marble drinking fountain. The ceiling was deeply recessed and painted a deep crimson, with gilded beams and hanging lanterns, supported by pillars encased in teak. Unlike the Olympic, the Titanic's cooling room did not have an exterior wall but still included artificial portholes concealed by a carved Cairo style curtain. The doorways were adorned with gilded semi-domes to give an exotic effect. Throughout the room were teak folding chairs, Damascus tables and cushioned chaise lounges for relaxation. There were also small, curtained cubicles for changing. The Turkish Baths were segregated by sex, available to women between 9am and 12pm, and to men between 2pm and 6pm. There was a charge of 4 shillings or $1, per person for admission. That would be the equivalent of £21 or $30 today.

The Swimming Bath

Concept Drawing for the Swimming Bath for
Titanic and Olympic

Across the corridor from the Turkish Baths was a heated swimming pool, or what was called the Swimming Bath, measuring 30 feet by 14 feet with a depth of 7 feet. The water depth was 5 feet 4 inches at the deep end and 4 feet 6 inches at the shallow end. Heated salt water from a tank and cold sea water were pumped into the pool once the ship was out to sea. The room offered 13 changing cubicles and 2 shower stalls for convenience. The floors were tiled in blue and white linoleum, and a marble stair with teak footholds descended into the pool. The pool cost 1 shilling or $0.25 (£5 or $7.50 today) to use but was open to men free of charge between 6am and 8am for early morning exercise. Olympic featured two diving boards which proved to be a safety hazard for divers, so they were not installed on Titanic. When the ship was moving the amount of water which sloshed back and forth could make the diving end deceptively shallow.

Photograph of Titanic's Swimming Bath

Plan of F Deck showing the Turkish Baths and Swimming Bath.

Rendering of Titanic's Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths
(Provided By Titanic Honor & Glory)

Rendering of Titanic's Hot Room of the Turkish Baths
(Provided By Titanic Honor & Glory)

Rendering of Titanic's Steam Room of the Turkish Baths
(Provided By Titanic Honor & Glory)

Rendering of Titanic's Temperate Room of the Turkish Baths
(Provided By Titanic Honor & Glory)

Photograph of Olympic's Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths

The Shampooing Rooms

The "Blade Douche"
The Shampooing Rooms were another area of the Turkish Baths where passengers could enjoy a relaxing message. In addition, there was a device known as the "Blade Douche” in which the bather lies on a slab of marble, and from the ends of the slab and over the bather runs a pipe that bears a number of faucets that are adjustable to any angle. The faucets spray a thin jet of water of a bladelike shape, the strength of the jet being dependable on the will of the bather. The spray could be adjusted to give a needle, spray, or bulb effect. The sprays could be directed on any portion of the body desired, and it was said to be stimulating as well as pleasant. There were slight corrugations on the slab that allowed the descending water to readily flow off and away as to not causing any discomfort to the bather.

Style of Electric Bath
that was used on
Olympic and Titanic.
The Electric Bath

The Electric Bath was by far one of the strangest amenities aboard Olympic and Titanic. With electricity still in its infancy, this idea of using the heat from electric light bulbs combined with steam to make you sweat inside of a metal containment was intended to help you revitalize your entire body. Olympic had two Electric Baths. However, due to its unpopularity only one was installed on Titanic.

At the Wreck of Titanic

Titanic's Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths
Rediscovered in 2005.
The Turkish Baths are the most preserved areas within the wreck of Titanic. In 2005 while filming the documentary called “The Last Mysteries of the Titanic”, the Cooling Room was rediscovered in a remarkable state of preservation. The room would have flooded early in the sinking and its location deep within the ship insulated it from damage when the bow section hit the seabed. Because of this the woodwork is in good condition, even the delicate recliners and framework for the dressing rooms survive in recognizable condition. The ceramic tiles on the walls and bronze ceiling fixtures were also found in very good condition. This is due the fact that these materials do not deteriorate in sea water.