The Turkish Bath Company of Dublin Limited

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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

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The Turkish Bath Company of Dublin Limited
Company baths: DUBLIN: Lincoln Place

Company files destroyed by fire in 1922

It is particularly disappointing that there is so little information available about this company, largely due to the destruction of the Irish Record Office in 1922. For in the history of the Victorian Turkish bath in Ireland, The Turkish Bath Company of Dublin Limited is the most important company of all.

Dr Richard Barter who, with David Urquhart's help, built the first Victorian Turkish bath in Ireland, was certainly connected in some way with the company at some stage in its life. But we do not know what the exact relationship was. Nor do we know if any other establishments were connected with the company and, if so, how many, and for how long.

All the information we have is gleaned from a letter, a lecture, and a few advertisements and notes in contemporary newspapers.

So from the company's seal embossed on a letter, we know that it was incorporated in 1859, and we know from several sources that the company was responsible for building Dublin's Lincoln Place Turkish baths designed by Dr Barter's name sake, the architect Mr Richard Barter.

When the company offered its shares to the public, its directors were full of confidence. The company was mentioned in a lecture given in Cheltenham on 15 November 1859 by Dr Robert Wollaston, who said,

I had the honor to dine with Mr Roe, the Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ireland, who informed me that the shares of the Bath had been all taken by a few gentlemen, and that not one share could be obtained, such was the confidence of commercial men in the Bath as a commercial speculation. They expected that fifteen to twenty per cent. would be paid to the shareholders on a capital from 7,000 to 8,000, the cost of this Bath.

This last expectation seems, with hindsight, to have been well beyond the bounds of possibility, though we have no record of the amount of any actual dividend.

By 12 January 1860, the Lincoln Place Turkish Baths were nearly complete and an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders, called by Messrs Brown, Craig, & Co of College Green, the company's secretaries, was held in the Board Room on the first floor of the baths. Parnell R Maillard, who may have been the company chairman, conducted the meeting which decided that the company should limit the number of directors to five, each of whom had to hold six shares. The shareholders were then taken on a tour of the building, which lacked only some decoration and furnishings, and 'expressed themselves much pleased with the arrangements'.

From the middle period of the company's life, we learn, from a letter in the collection of the Victorian Turkish Bath Project, that the company was still paying half-yearly dividends in 1872, and that a Mr C P Hamilton was both a shareholder in the company and its auditor.

Other information we have about the company relates to its voluntary liquidation.

The notice appearing on 24 February 1880 was brief and to the point. The liquidators were offering Barter's Lincoln Place Turkish Baths for sale as a going concern. The sale, to the hoteliers Millar & Jury who already owned the up-market establishment at 127 Stephen's Green, was a quick one. After a short closure for refurbishment, the baths were again open for use on 30 November.


This page last updated 07 September 2011

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Letter with company seal

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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

 
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