Victorian Society "Very, Very Sad" About Development Around Turkish Bathhouse

Victorian Society "Very, Very Sad" About Development Around Turkish Bathhouse

Developers aren't winning every decision — the controversial Stratford Sphere has just been hampered by Sadiq Khan.

A beautifully ornate Turkish bath
The Victorian Society says the old Turkish bathhouse 'should be respected'. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

There's uproar from a heritage group, after permission was granted for a development that cantilevers above a Victorian bathhouse in the Square Mile.

The City of London Corporation has green-lit Landsec's £500 million plans to redevelop 290,000 sq ft of Old Broad Street with mixed-use development, featuring office, retail and cultural space.

In the middle of the would-be development stands a beautifully ornate Moorish-style bathhouse, opened in 1895 as Nevills Turkish Baths. As part of Landsec's plans, the space — much of which is subterranean, and has previously been used as a cocktail bar among other things — would be renovated, and operate as a cultural community space, in cahoots with Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

So far, so good perhaps. But heritage group the Victorian Society has pointed out that the new development features a cantilever directly above the Grade II listed bathhouse, which it says will detract from its tiled splendour. "We are very, very sad." said the Victorian Society in a tweet.

A new building standing on pilotis
A mock-up of the new Old Broad Street development, although the Turkish bathhouse isn't visible here. Image: Landsec

You can bet the Victorian Society won't take this lying down either, especially if its efforts for the nearby Liverpool Street station are anything to go by. The group is rallying against development here too — with well-known campaigner Griff Rhys Jones at the tiller — claiming that plans by the developer Sellar would overshadow parts of the Victorian rail terminus with an 'oversized, incongruous and misconceived' structure.

As it stands, work is expected to begin on Old Broad Street early 2025, with completion mid 2028.

Last Updated 21 November 2023