September 2nd, 2020

Lishui Bathhouse 丽水浴室 (1936)

Lishui Bathhouse 丽水浴室 is one of the few surviving art-deco buildings in Dongjiadu 董家渡. It was purpose-built as a public bathhouse and opened on January 16, 1936. The prices were as follows: pivate room with a "western" bathtub – 500 cash (五百文),* room with a basin – 350 cash, place in a common washroom – 90 cash, prestigious hot room – 180 cash, ordindary hot room – 150 cash, one towel included. During the first week there was a promotion, "Wash one get one free!"

The elegant front doors, with a stylized sunrise over the mountain peaks, shrouded in propituous clouds – or whatever your interpretation of the design – are rather inviting. But when I tried to explore the interior, the courteous attendant stopped me at the second floor: Lishui Bathhouse is for men only.

In 2012, the journalist Shi Peiqi 施培琦 succeeded where I failed: Eight years since the report, the bathhouse is still operating. The address is 50 Fugu Street 府谷街50号.

BONUS: Here is a "ghost story" from Lishui Bathhouse, that took place in 1946:

"丽水浴室出鬼说." Source: 大光 1946 年 第4期.

* "cash" or wen (文) was 1/000 of a yuan.