Lewes Turkish Baths’ future hangs in the balance

Lewes Turkish Baths
Lewes Turkish Baths
  • Lewes Print Room closes
  • Demand for printed material falling
  • Lewes and Eastbourne Councils to share printing services

Services provided by the Lewes Print Room at the Turkish Baths will be moved to Eastbourne, leaving the historic building’s future uncertain.

Lewes District Council, which runs the Print Room in Friars Walk, said print services will be provided by Eastbourne Borough Council.

The move will impact on Lewes charities and groups which use the service and has left the Friends of Lewes concerned about the building.

A spokesperson for the Oyster Project, a charity based in Lewes which supports disabled people, said: “The Print Unit is also relatively easy for our members, i.e. disabled people, to access and is very near where we have run activities for the last 11 years.

“This means that the members themselves can collect print work as part of their voluntary contribution to the running of the charity.”

A spokesperson for Patina said: “No doubt like many other charities in town, Patina does not have office facilities, so we have reliant on services such as this to produce a lot of our printed material.

“The move of the print works to Eastbourne will mean that we need to find another cost effective solution locally. We will really miss the friendly, affordable and professional printing services provided at the Turkish Baths.”

The Lewes Print Room will take orders until the end of May 2015.

The district council said the print room would close from the end of June 2015 with print services then delivered by Eastbourne Borough Council, as a shared service between the two councils. Printed materials will be delivered back to Lewes by regular courier.

It explained the demand for printed material had been reducing in recent years, with more being done electronically and online.

This meant it was not financially viable for the council to operate its own print facility.

The Friends of Lewes said the building was not listed but had been added to the Friends Buildings at Risk in Lewes list.

A spokesperson for the Friends added: “It also would be interesting to know if it is (or will be going) on LDC’s list of 49 sites for potential disposal at some point.

“One can ask, but Lewes District Council tends to regard such information as ‘commercially sensitive’.”

The council said options for the building’s future uses were under investigation and added there would be no compulsory redundancies.

Turkish baths were introduced to Britain by David Urquhart, diplomat and Member of Parliament for Stafford, who for political and personal reasons wished to popularise Turkish culture in the mid 19th century.

The first modern Turkish bath was at St Ann’s Hydropathic Establishment near Blarney, County Cork, Ireland, in 1856.

The following year, the first public bath of its type to be built in mainland Britain since Roman times was opened in Manchester, and the idea spread rapidly. During the following 150 years, over 600 Turkish baths opened in Britain.