The history of Sturebadet
Carl Curman - the founder
Medical Doctor and Renaissance man Carl Curman founded Sturebadet, which was officially opened in 1885. Curman's dream was to offer the members of the community of Stockholm what they so desperately needed- swimming, exercise, and a road to better health. Curman was an instructor in Plastic Anatomy at The Fine Arts Academy and taught Balneology (the therapeutic effects of baths and bathing) as a specialty. He introduced numerous varieties of bathing cures, and massage methods. Curman chose a piece of property on Sturegatan on which to build his bathhouse, a short distance from Stureplan. His initial plans for wooden houses with small patches of garden, eventually became a statelier square with new buildings resembling a palace. Curman traveled to Venice, to study one the most beautiful buildings as his prototype. As a result, a Renaissance palace in Venice, the Vendramia-Calergi, inspires Sturebadet's facade. This building is presently Sturecompagniet. Sturebadet is an architectural gem, and an important contributor to Stockholm's cultural heritage. Oscar II is known to have bathed here. When the King entered the pool, it was quickly and respectfully abandoned by remaining gentlemen. Greta Garbo loved the Ladies Turkish bath and attracted many Stockholm ladies to this previously male dominated establishment. In the 1920 s, a new category of bathing guests was introduced, more specifically dogs, but they were restricted to the cellar area.
Carl Curman initiated the modern hot air baths in Sweden. Originally the idea came from Germany- where a Dr. Luther was working on a renaissance of ancient forms of bathing. There hot and dry air applied in concession in rooms, allowed the bather to go from the preliminary "tepidarium" to the conclusive "frigidarium". In 1899 there were 63 treatment areas with 43 bathtubs for soaking and as often happened, especially before a weekend, thousands would flock to bathe daily. At the turn of the century, there existed a division of the social classes at Sturebadet that also existed in the outer community. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class guests were delegated to separate floors. A Turkish bath including massage cost 1.75 Swedish crowns. In the 3rd class department, one could take a sauna for 25 Swedish ore. Sturebadet also offered "brushing" services, a predecessor to today's body scrub.
Facts about the pool
With the addition of a building drawn by Sigge Cronstedt in 1902, the swimming area was inaugurated. The interior is in Jugent style with Old Norse and Moorish features created by the architect Hjalmar Molin. Sturebadet's pool is 14 x 7 meters, or 98 m2. The pool holds approximately 20 bathing guests. *recommended area per guest:5m2.
It was only natural that a Medical -Mechanical Institute at Sturebadet was established, headed by Dr Alfred Levertin. It was the "office workers" that Curman and Levertin wanted to reach. Even office workers needed exercise and good health habits. They were referred to as the "the old guys mill" and it certainly was a sight to see these proper gentlemen being kneaded and prodded, with pulses throbbing on the 53 machines. "Here you can get a beneficial chest lift, said Claes Lundin, plus great biceps, a flexible neck, and splendid abdominal muscles, which certainly should help combat melancholy. If your train of thought is slower than usual, hurry on over to Dr. Levertin who will administer a head adjustment". Sturebadet was a pioneer in establishing an exercise program. In 1930 the exercise program became a reality when the first exercise studios were built in an inner courtyard on the ground. Eventually the old sun roof area became an exercise studio when the outside air became polluted.
Sturebadet in flames
When the news had spread throughout Sweden that Sturebadet was in flames, the sorrow was deep among the "Turkish bathers". It was the 31st of May in 1985. The bathing establishment that had improved attitudes towards health had succeeded since 1885, both as a center for relaxation and as a center for establishing new ideas. Had a bathing era died? The owners of Stockholm's Badhus AB and Skandia, decided to rebuild Sturebadet. The new Sturebadet was a continuation of its predecessor, and would play a central role in the success of the new shopping center, Sturegallerian. No old drawings were to be found, but as luck would have it, old photos depicting Sturebadet were discovered that had been taken just a few weeks before the fire.
Who owns Sturebadet?
Sturebadet has from its conception, been owned by Stockholms Badhus AB, which in turn was owned by various persons among those being Carl Curman, wholesaler G Fris and Hjalmar Nobel. Today, the insurance company Skandia is the owner Stockholms Badhus.
Dates of interest
1867 - 1917 Malmtorgsbadet, main bath house next to Sturebadet (behind Gallerian Hamngatan) 1885 - Sturebadet on Stureplan inaugurated (presently Sturecompagniet)
1902 The pool was added. (Presently Sturebadet)
1920s A bakery was established in the inner courtyard.
1930s SSturebadet expands and builds exercise studios.
1985 1985 May 31st, Sturebadet burns down.
1989 May 15th, Sturebadet reopens.
The oldest part of Sturebadet from 1885 is today the restaurant, Sturecompaniet. In was in this section that relaxation rooms, bathtubs, the Turkish baths and a bakery were once situated.
The addition from 1902 is today the new Sturebadet.
Floors 6 and 7 are additions, which were originally not part of Sturebadet, but were added during the reconstruction in 1989.
Floors 4,5,6 These floors were designated historically significant during the reconstruction. (The only building in Sweden which has been given this honor after being reconstructed)
Floor 6 - The "Turk" was moved from StureCompagniet.
Floor 7 - A water tower, which provided the entire Sturebadet water supply, is now home to Conference rooms.