Death of a Sheffield Rent Collector 1925

For fuller information on the RUSSIAN sauna bath, see the article in Wikipedia. The article states that 

"The high temperature in the banya (Russian Sauna Bath) has many health benefits. The excessive heat stimulates sweating, thus removing unwanted materials from the blood and improving the work of the kidneys. Sweating also releases excess water and salt from the body and opens the skin pores, cleaning it and making it softer and fresher. The process helps rid the muscles of excess lactic acid. Dilated blood vessels increase the flow of oxygen to muscles, reduces swelling and aids in the repair of tears. Steam bathing also stimulates protein circulation, improving digestability of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and mineral elements. Because harmful bacteria and viruses can only survive within a narrow temperature range, the use of banya to create an "artificial fever" may aid the body in protecting against these microscopic invaders. Finally, endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain, are released due to the increase in cardiovascular activity."

Unfortunately for Frederick John Adams, a 69 year old rent collector from the Dore district of Sheffield, he received none of these benefits. An inquest held by the Sheffield Coroner and reported in The Manchester Guardian dated 9th December 1925 revealed that Frederick more or less roasted to death, and his death was caused by his own hand.


According to the poster, the Russian Baths in Sheffield were situated in both Glossop Road and Broadfield Road (Heeley) baths. The report does not give the location of the incident, or the name of the hospital where Frederick was taken.

However in September 2010 I went to the local studies library in Sheffield and accessed the report of the Inquest that appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph  As I expected the local press gave a fuller report of the tragedy, and in doing so confirmed that the tragedy had occurred at Broadfield Road (Heeley) baths, and that he was taken to the Royal hospital, Sheffield




Manchester Guardian dated 9th December 1925

Sheffield Telegraph dated 9th December 1925


1911 Census

Personal Information Name Frederick John Adams Relationship to Head of Household Brother Condition Single Gender M Age 55 Estimated Year of Birth 1856 Occupation Collector Rents Employed Y Working at Home N Place of Birth Yorkshire Sheffield Enumerator Information Address 135 Steade Road Sheffield Parish Ecclesall Town Sheffield Type of Building Private House Number of Rooms 7 Rooms Inhabited Y Reference RG14PN27780 RG78PN1591 RD509 SD5 ED2 SN222 Administrative County Yorkshire (West Riding) Registration District Ecclesall Bierlow Registration Sub District Ecclesall South Enumeration District 2

The use of public baths in Sheffield grew steadily throughout the late nineteenth century. Male swimming and bathing enthusiasts had enjoyed the use of Glossop Road Baths since 1832, before a ladiesí pool was added when the site was purchased by the city in 1895. Glossop Road also housed Turkish (or Russian) baths, which were available elsewhere in the city centre at public bathhouses on Norfolk Street and Arundel Street. Similar facilities were provided at Attercliffe Baths on Leeds Road in 1879, Upperthorpe Baths on Daniel Hill in 1895 and Park Baths on City Road in 1902, with Heeley Baths following in 1909. The number of bathers making use of these amenities rose from 267,000 in 1899 to 709,000 in 1914. The public of Sheffield had never been cleaner.

Mr Adamsí bungalow at Ryecroft Farm, Dore, stood to the right-hand side of Dore Road when travelling towards the village centre from Abbeydale Road South, about half-way up the hill. The farm backed on to Ecclesall Woods and today the area is green-belt land, on which construction is carefully controlled. However, in 2000 residents of Dore were concerned when convoys of lorries arrived to tip spoil on the land to form the base of a riding circle of a livery business.

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This page was last updated on 18/04/12 09:36