rôle and remuneration
Urquhart, in accordance with the company’s
articles, was wholly involved in setting up the baths,
approving a site, and working with the notional architect, George Somers
Clarke who was, according to the company minutes, ‘willing to
superintend as architect the erection of the Baths and that he would do
so under Mr Urquhart's supervision.' Initially, Urquhart would also be
responsible for appointing staff and generally supervising the day to
day running of the Hammam.
Yet he refused any remuneration, treating the £1,000
he had put into the company as a ‘loan’. Problems relating to his
rôle in the company and his remuneration were not easily resolved.
The company knew it would not easily survive without
him and could not afford—indeed did not wish—to offend him, yet his
personal beliefs militated against any normal financial arrangement.
After much discussion and correspondence, some with
Harriet, who played—as not infrequently before and afterwards—the
rôle of intercessor, Urquhart had contented himself with stating,
that he had carefully considered the matter of
compensation to himself, that he had felt extreme satisfaction at the
proposal of the directors but he had conclusively determined not to
accept any remuneration for his services to the company but that he
would not decline an indemnification of his actual expenditure in the
Yet less than two weeks later Urquhart changed his
mind again and in a long letter to Stewart Rolland, the ‘Chairman of
the Bath Company’, said that he had written to the Company Secretary
resigning his Honorary Directorship. He had also decided to withdraw his
refusal to receive ‘compensation on the part of the company’ and
that he would,
apply that compensation to that object wh[ich] I
have had from the beginning in mind namely the establishment of Baths
for the Working Classes free from any charge…
He said that he had found it repugnant to be
connected with a joint stock company and knew there would be constant
disagreements on charges.
The Company will be looking to its profits. I shall
be looking to charges lowered for the Working Classes.
Those perhaps surprised at the friendly relationship
between the patrician Urquhart and the revolutionary Karl Marx may not
have realised that they agreed on far more than their common hatred of
Rolland acted quickly to nip the latest problem in
the bud fearing its effect on possible investors. He smartly put the
issue on hold and immediately attempted to divert Urquhart's thoughts
towards the exciting potentialities presented by the finding, after a
long search, of suitable premises at 76 Jermyn Street.
A month later Rolland sorted the matter out with Harriet and it was
agreed that Urquhart would accept 200 shares in return for his ‘loan’
to the company.
Plan, reality, and conclusion