In 1890, two young women meet while taking the water. Over the years they continue to bathe – and a stream of stories trickles between them: peeping Toms, the Titanic, first world war loss, the scandal of the carnival queens… This epic tale spans the 70 years of the life of the pool, until the last gurgle goes down the plughole.
Image credit: Inside the Public Baths, c.1890s. Photographer unknown. Image courtesy Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance
Penzance Public Baths were located on the Promenade and were opened in 1887.
History Through the Looking Glass was set up in 2015 by two long-term residents of Penzance who love performance, love interesting places and love history. We bring you the history of West Cornwall as it might have been, using original sources – newspaper reports, journals and letters have all featured – but use our imaginations to fill in the gaps.
We are firmly in touch with reality and make clear what is, and isn’t documented. But we also believe that the imagination is a valid route to the truth, and in this spirit invite you to join us…