Description: Camberwell Public Baths
Date Listed: 27 July 1993
English Heritage Building ID: 470538
OS Grid Reference: TQ3269776818
OS Grid Coordinates: 532697, 176818
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4748, -0.0907
TQ3276 ARTICHOKE PLACE
636-1/11/14 (North side)
27/07/93 Camberwell Public Baths
Public baths. Design in 1890; dated to 1891. By Henry Spalding
and Alfred WS Cross. Red brick in Flemish bond with rubbed
brick and terracotta and artificial stone dressings.
Netherlandish Renaissance style.
EXTERIOR: roof parapeted. Gable facing elevation of 5-window
range, which contains offices and caretaker's room.
Single-storey bath halls to rear.
Elevation to Artichoke Place has 3-storey wings with 4-storey
centre ranges; single-storey structure of 3-window range to
right return. All openings are flat-arched, pair of main
entrances in 2nd- and 4th-window ranges, each with overlight
of decorative glazing forming the words "Public Baths"; to
right another, less elaborate entrance. Main entrances set in
Tuscan aedicule with dentil cornice and panelled parapet
above. Broad storey band between ground and 1st floors.
Architraves to all ground-floor openings of moulded and rubbed
All windows with projecting sills, each supported by
projecting brackets. 2nd- and 4th-window ranges, 1st to 3rd
floors, framed by Tuscan pilastrade on each floor; the
pilasters ornamented with terracotta panels in a heart
pattern. Sill bands to 1st- and 2nd-floor windows. Entablature
floor band between 1st and 2nd floors and full entablature
above the 2nd floor, the centre sections inscribed "Camberwell
Public Baths"; frieze to side ranges has swags in rubbed brick
with dentil cornice.
Parapets above 1st- and 5th-window ranges curve up to meet
higher central section; on 3rd floor same pilaster treatment
as below but shorter; Dutch gable cresting above with shell in
pediment; the cresting with a clock face. Stacks to right
return wall and between 1st- and 2nd-, and 4th- and 5th-window
INTERIOR: in lobby the pay box survives. The slipper baths
have been removed, to be replaced by gym facilities. Behind
entrance lobby is 1st-class bath, of 14 bays with viewing
gallery to all sides and lit by skylight; roof truss formed
from a pair of hammer beams from which spring an arched brace,
each bay tied by a wrought-iron brace. Side aisles formed by
orthostats supporting concrete beams. One segmental-arched
window for each bay. The gallery front of iron, curved in
section with open filigree work.
Plaque on front wall, between entrances: "Camberwell Public
Baths and Wash Houses. These buildings were erected for the
Parish of Camberwell in the year 1891. Commissioners, JT
Sears, RT Bonsall, JT Ralph, R Strong JP LCC, GL Turney JP, M
Wallace, George Marsden Clerk to the Vestry [of Camberwell
Parish], Spalding and Cross Archtitects, Balaam Bros.
Builders, C William Tagg Clerk of the Works".
HISTORICAL NOTE: this is one of the earliest baths which
involved the architect Alfred Cross who later became a leading
expert on the design of public baths and the author of the
standard work on the subject, "Public Baths and Wash-houses"
of 1906. Spalding also specialised in the design of this
building type. His earlier works in London, in Buckingham
Palace Road and Finchley Road, both designed in partnership
with Auld, do not survive. The Camberwell Baths and the
Dulwich Baths on Goose Green are the earliest surviving works
of Spalding partnerships.
Listing NGR: TQ3269776818
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.