William BATHO and the Russian Bath in Wrexham

John Batho was born in Birmingham about 1798, he married Mary Catherall in Chester. Mary had been born in Chester. John was a spirit merchant in Bridge Street, Chester for many years before coming to Wrexham.  He and Mary had 5 known children, William, the eldest was baptised on 3 November 1833 at St Peter`s, Chester. Then there were John, Ann, Fanny, Jane, and Alice.

John died aged 9 in 1845 in Wrexham; Alice died aged 3 in 1848 and is known to be buried in the Dissenters Graveyard in Rhosddu.

John became the landlord of the Buck Inn, and in 1857 he had   joined in with the other businessmen and merchants of the town in improving the look of their premises.

“A little further on towards the Railway we also see that a similar alteration has been made by Mr. Batho. who at his own expense has converted the Buck into a commodious and spruce looking vaults”

John died in 1859 and was also buried in the Dissenters Graveyard in Rhosddu.

19th February 1859

On the 15th inst. after a short illness, aged 60, Mr. John Batho, wine merchant. Hope street. Wrexham deeply regretted by his family and friends.

William had started his own business, but after his father’s death he moved to the Buck which had been extended.

9th April 1859 

BRYN-Y-FFYNNON BREWERY. AND STEAM SODA WATER WORKS, WINE, SPIRIT, ALE AND PORTER VAULTS, UPPER HOPE-STREET, WREXHAM. WILLIAM BATHO respectfully begs to return his most sincere and grateful thanks to the numerous friends and customers of his late lamented father, for the patronage so liberally accorded to him for upwards of 20 years, and embraces the present opportunity of static that the business will now be carried on by him, and is REMOVED from Lower Hope-street to the enlarged any more convenient  premises ; Upper Hope-street, (late the Buck Inn), where he hopes by strict punctuality , and by giving his personal attention to all orders entrusted to him, to merit a continuance of their favours, at the same time he begs  also to say that he has now had fitted up a STEAM ENGINE, and other first class Machinery, embracing all the latest improvements, for the manufacture of AERATED WATERS, comprising Soda, Chalybeate, Potass Waters, Lemonade, and Ginger Beer, manufactured from the Water of the famed Bryn-y-fynnon Well. The Wine and Spirit Business will also have the special attention of W. B., whose aim  will be to supply a first – rate article at the lowest remunerative price. The Brewery having been much extended, will afford much greater facilities for the prompt execution of all orders. Innkeepers and Private Families supplied with Home-Brewed, Burton, Mild, and Bitter Ales, in Cask or Bottle, London and Dublin Porter. Dealer in Cigars. All Good delivered Carriage Free within 10 miles. Wrexham.

In 1861 William came up with the idea of a Russian Bath, probably utilising the steam generated from the Steam soda works.  

20th July 1861

RUSSIAN BATH. MR. BATHO BEGS to inform the public that he has fitted up a RUSSIAN or VAPOUR BATH, on his premises at Bryn-y-flynnon, which is open from Eight in the morning until Nine in the Evening. Terms Before Four o’clock, One Shilling after Four o’clock, Six-pence. Entrance in Priory Street.

20th July 1861

A RUSSIAN BATH IN WREXHAM We have never missed any opportunity of bringing before our readers the importance of establishing of public baths. Great progress has been made in this question within the last ten years, baths having been established in all our large towns—and many of our small towns, where the working classes for the small sum of twopence can get a bath, and we are glad to state that they have shewn their appreciation of these establishments by visiting them in such numbers and with such frequency that they have yielded a large profit to those corporate bodies who have had the public spirit to establish them.. Mr Batho, of this town, like Mr Urquhart, having found something beneficial to himself,” and being of an inventive and speculative turn of mind, has fit up, what he calls a Russian bath, on his premises in Priory street, for a moderate charge. The bath thus fit up by Mr Batho differs from the Turkish bath of Mr Urquhart, perspiration in the latter being promoted by hot air-in the former by vapour. Both baths have their advocates, which has the greater merit we will not presume to say. Both produce intense perspiration, and both produce the same exhilarating results. The remarks of Mr Urquhurt with reference to the result of the Turkish bath may be applied with almost equal truthfulness to the vapour bath:—” The body will come forth shining like alabaster, fragrant as the cistus, sleek as satin, and soft as velvet.” Mr Batho’s bath being as yet, only an experiment, is fitted up in a very plain way. There are no white marble pavements—no gilt roofs—no walls covered with Japan china, as we read of in the Eastern baths. Still, there are all the appliances necessary for a good vapour bath, combined with a fair degree of comfort and privacy. We hail it as a praiseworthy attempt to supply in some degree, what has long been much wanted in Wrexham, and we hope Mr Batho will meet with the support he deserves.

Sadly his business failed and he was declared bankrupt 2 years later.

27th June 1863

RE-WILLIAM BATHO (BREWER), A BANKRUPT. To BREWERS, FARMERS, CART-OWNERS AND OTHERS. MESSRS. GASKILL -and WEIGHT have received instructions from the official assignee  TO SELL AUCTION on Friday next, July 3rd, 1863, at two o’clock in the afternoon precisely, at the Brewery, Hope-street, Wrexham, in the County of Denbigh, very useful black entire  horse , excellent spring cart, nearly new, capital narrow wheeled cart, nearly new: Cart Gears, sundry stable utensils, &C.

5th September 1863

LIVERPOOL COURT OF BANKRUPTCY. IN THE MATTER OF WM. BATHO, BREWER, A BANKRUPT. This Bankrupt came up on his adjourned, order of discharge. He was supported by Mr Henry Forshaw, assisted by Mr Duncan, and opposed by Mr Sherratt. The grounds of opposition were that the Bankrupt through false and fraudulent representations relating to the Buck and Black Lion properties, had obtained goods on credit, which remained unpaid for. After much discussion on both sides, the granting of the Bankrupts order of discharge was adjourned Sine die.

What happened to William next isn`t known but in March 1867 a Batho and Co started production in Caergwrle.

2 March 1867.

CAERGWRLE MINERAL WATERWORKS. MESSRS BATHO & Co., BEG most respectfully to intimate that they have filled up the above works with new and Improved Machinery for the manufacture of AERATED WATERS, which combined with the great natural advantages of the district, the water being unrivalled, will enable them to offer an article equal to any in the market. For price list see circulars.

This is the only time that “Batho and Co” and mentioned in a connection with Mineral Waters, could William have taken a chance again.

William isn’t found again until this mention in 1870, and it’s clear he fell on such hard times that in 1868 in he ended up in the workhouse.  It seems that honesty doesn`t always pay, 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1870.  WILLIAM BATHO, a man who some years ago occupied a respectable position in the town, was brought up charged with having on the 26th of February, 1868, absconded from the Wrexham Workhouse, taking with him a suit of clothes belonging to the Union authorities. He had not been heard of until that morning, when he had applied for admission to the Workhouse and had been very humble and submissive, but the guardians had thought it better to bring him before the magistrates.— Mr Ralph, Workhouse master, proved the case, and after a severe admonition, the prisoner was sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment.

John`s mother Mary died in 1877, she is remembered on the gravestone in the Disssenters Graveyard It’s not known if she was brought back to be buried there.

Fanny Batho had married John Robinson a surgeon, and Mary had been with them in 1871.

3rd February 1877 

BATHO On the 23rd ult., at the Belvedere, Runcorn, the residence of her son-in-law, Mary, widow of the late John Batho, of Wrexham, aged 72.

Many years later William’s baths were still remembered in Wrexham

27th September 1884

TURKISH BATHS. I SIR,-I venture to suggest that the establishment of a Turkish bath in Wrexham would be a very popular institution, and I think it would be a well- paying one. It would stand the best chance of being self supporting if it were attached to the Infirmary. At Denbigh they have such a one; indeed, they have two in that town, whilst we have not one. Thirty years ago a man named Batho, who ran a ginger beer making establishment, used his superfluous steam in the formation of a Russian bath, and it was extensively used. Pity he has no imitator amongst the enterprising men of this day.

William Batho has not been traced after 1870 when he was imprisoned.

Researched by Annette Edwards. May 2020.