Victorian Turkish Baths Picture of the Month for February 2011

Charles Omar Bartholomew (1862-1923)

Charles Omar Bartholomew
Charles Omar Bartholomew (left) with a bather at one of the Turkish baths in Glasgow where, some time between 1910 and 1920, he worked as a bath attendant and shampooer.

Charles Omar Bartholomew was the eldest son of Charles Bartholomew, owner in 1862 of the Turkish baths at College Green, Bristol and, at his death in 1889, owner of a further six establishments located around England. Charles Omar spent his early years working in his father's baths.

In 1882 he married Lucy Herriott, who was 20 years his senior. Lucy came from a wealthy family and her parents owned a farm and—at least from 1885 onwards—Herriott's Turkish Baths in Manchester, though it is not yet known when these baths were opened. In December 1882 Charles Omar and Lucy had a daughter, Lucy Herriott Bartholomew, but five years later Charles Omar deserted his wife and daughter, emigrating to Canada where he married again—twice. Lucy was granted a divorce in 1887 as a result of her husband's drunkenness and his having threatened her with knife and revolver.

Charles Bartholomew, who—at least in his youth—was a teetotaller, could not have been at all happy with his son's behaviour and, the year after the birth of his grand-daughter, he made a will leaving all his Turkish baths to his daughter-in-law's elder sister Bassalissa Harriet Herriott. In this way young Lucy would be safely provided for, and there would be no risk of Charles Omar drinking away her future, and that of her mother.

Charles Omar's second wife died in May 1898 having given him another daughter, and six months later, at the age of 39, he married again, this time to a 15 year old girl, Marie Albina Lucie Quesnel. With her he had four further children before deserting her also, and returning to Britain. His wife was not well off and had no alternative but to place her children and step-daughter in an orphanage. In 1907, Charles Omar, now in Glasgow, married yet again, and with his new wife, Flora Nixon, had a further child, Thomas Charles Bartholomew.

Charles Omar Bartholomew was found dead at 5.00 am in Glasgow on 13 February 1923. His death was recorded as being from 'Natural causes—probably asphyxia during alcoholism'.

Thank you icon

David Ritarose, great-great-grandson of Charles Bartholomew, for the photograph, and

for the information from his research into the Bartholomew family most generously made

available to me

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