The Largest Roman Bath in Northwest England

Author and Historian Simon Inglis celebrates bath-time with the Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths: part of the year-long Hadrian 1900 celebrations
July 7, 2022

Author and Historian Simon Inglis will speak at a Hadrian 1900 talk organised by the Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths on Friday 15 July.

The talk at the Stanwix Community Centre, close to the site of what is thought to have been the largest Roman Bath in Northwest England, is the second in a series of talks the campaign group is organising during the year long celebration of the Roman Wall.

Elsa Price and Lynda Hepburn from the Friends group will lead the talk, exploring the history of bathing in Carlisle from Roman times, to the Victorian era and the creation of public baths, right through to the revival of outdoor swimming and research into the health and wellbeing benefits of cold water immersion. 

Simon Inglis: The Bath Expert

Lynda Hepburn said:

“We have a joke in the group that Carlisle is the home of the Bathhouse. But when you consider that the city had not one but two large Roman bathhouses and has one of only twelve remaining original Victorian Turkish Baths still in use, ‘home of the bathhouse’ is actually not too far off the mark!” 

“Simon Inglis is one of the country’s foremost experts on the history of public baths and we are delighted that he is joining us to celebrate 2000 years of Public Bathing in the Great Border City. We just hope with Simon's help we can stop Carlisle's Turkish Baths going the same way as the Roman Baths”. 

Simon Inglis is not the only big name to have joined in the Friends’ Hadrian 1900 events. Emperor Hadrian himself paid a recent visit to the Turkish Baths to brave the icy waters of the plunge pool and rest in the opulent frigidarium. 

Emperor Hadrian and Friend

Hadrian’s Wall, named after the Emperor himself, represents the borderline of the Roman Empire at its furthest extent in the 2nd century AD. The 150-mile Hadrian’s Wall frontier area runs from the western Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall through Carlisle and Hexham to Newcastle, Wallsend and South Shields. Along the wall there were around 80 milecastles and 160 turrets, a ditch to the north and the great defensive vallum earthwork to the south.

The group held a similar talk in May at Cakes and Ale and plan to hold a third before the Hadrian’s 1900 festival concludes at the end of the year. Tickets for the 15th July talk are available from the Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths website.