Sauna Services, St Paul’s


St Paul Street, Bristol, BS2.  Mid 1970s to early 1980s.

The first gay sauna in Bristol, Sauna Services, was located in part-derelict St Paul Street, off Portland Square.


Sometime in the mid 1970s a full-on gay sauna opened in a house on St Paul’s Street off Portland Square. I went there on April 2, 1977 – no idea why I remember the date but I do. I was unsuitably young and my (older) boyfriend took me. It had the classic little hatch in the door to check that anyone outside wasn’t police. The place was sleazy and run down, with a sauna and steam room in the basement, changing on the ground floor, a TV room / rest area above and a dark room at the top. My mate wouldn’t allow me near the dark room as he knew he’d never find me again. How I got away with being there I will never know; they’d have closed it down if they knew. It was knocked down in the early 1980s and later rebuilt as offices.

Last edited: 26/8/2020

  2 Responses to “Sauna Services, St Paul’s”

  1. It was on four floors with all the usual features. The owner ran a proper little café on the ground floor doing hot meals. For some reason the place was flagged in Spartacus International Gay Guide as “Stay Away! Serious physical or other dangers exist”, which I could never understand as it was always friendly in my experience.

  2. I think it was run in the 1970’s by a guy called Barry, who I remember drove a Hillman Avenger car.

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