Isaac Holden's private
Turkish Bath at Oakworth House
Oakworth House was built in 1875 by Isaac Holden
on the site of an earlier house. Holden, was responsible for the
invention of advanced woolcombing machinery at his works at Alston, near Bradford. He was a
Liberal MP for thirty years from 1865, was made a baronet in
1893, and died in 1899.
July 1877, Holden wrote to Joseph Constantine asking him to call in order
to advise on how to improve the heating of the house, and about the
possible installation of a Turkish bath. Holden was unaware, when writing
the letter, that as a young lad Constantine had been a hand comber at Holden's mill and
had lost his job there after the invention of the new machinery. But, as
he later told Mrs Holden, it was the best thing that could have happened
became a bathman in Keighley and in 1850 opened his own establishment in
Manchester, adding a Turkish bath there in 1857. In 1886, in conjunction
with Thomas Whitaker, he took out a patent on the Convoluted Stove which
he later used to heat Holden's Turkish bath and which, in the intervening
period, had become the most popular furnace for heating such baths.
had its own winter garden, adjoining which was a billiard room. Unusually,
the Turkish bath opened directly out of this room. It comprised a hot
room, 11x13 ft; a shampooing room, 11x12ft, with shower, spray and douche,
and a cooling-room, 10x11ft.
The whole layout and
style of this Turkish bath seems to be rather similar to that
which Constantine designed and fitted out ten years later
for Theodore Mander.
But while Holden's bath led directly off the billiard room, Mander's was
only adjacent to it. It could be that in both cases, the
additionally kept the billiard room warm.
was an extremely health-conscious person and a great believer in exercise.
According to Constantine,
even at the age of 83 he walked regularly for one-and-a-half hours daily and on his return,
He went into his private Turkish bath, which is always kept warm, took
a warm and cold shower and changed his underclothing...He takes one Turkish bath a week, and if the least out of sorts two or
A more detailed account of this bath, and of
Constantine's rejected original designs, appears
in my Victorian Turkish Baths,
Steve Sharp, whose family—builders in the area for over
150 years—'contributed to the building of Oakworth House, the neighbouring chapel, and the Sunday
The original page
and thumbnail pictures which can be enlarged.
All the enlarged images, listed and linked below, can also be printed.
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