The Turkish Suite in the Arlington Baths has some beautiful encaustic and mosaic tiles from some of the best manufacturers of the Victorian period.
During the annual maintenance closure 2019, tile restorer and Baths member Andrew Little began repairing the encaustic tiles of the Turkish Suite.
There are no signs of a previous floor so the tiling appears to be the original floor covering from 1875-6.
Upon lifting the tiles, he was able to confirm from tiles marks that the encaustic flooring is in fact made by Minton, Hollins & Company.
Herbert Minton formed a partnership with Michael Hollins in 1845 and formed the tile making firm of Minton, Hollins & Co. in Stoke.
Minton, Hollins & Co. was the most prolific and famous tile manufacturer of the Victorian era. Its tiles were used in The Palace of Westminster, US Capitol, Victoria & Albert Museum, many other prestigious buildings. as well as many domestic dwellings.
The company was purchased by Johnsons in 1968 and still has a range called the Minton Hollins Collection.
From the marks we have the following tiles, listed here by Tile No:
- 13 ENC
- 26 Buff
- 33 or 35 B Brown rectangle
- 82 W White
- 82 W Blue
- 95 Black rectangle
After inspection of the mosaic tiles of the fountain in the centre of the warm room, Andrew assessed they are from Jesse Rust & Son, patented manufacturer of vitreous mosaic tesserae. These are no longer made in the UK and replacements may be only available from Venice.
Jesse Rust of Battersea was a manufacturing chemist, glassmaker and vitreous mosaic manufacturer, he was succeeded by his son Henry Jesse. The firm of Jesse Rust filled buildings across the UK with their mosaic work including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; St Padarn’s Church, Llanbadarn; the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London; and very similar tesserae to our own in toilets at Peckham Rye station.
Sadly there is little of their work left as much was demolished, is inaccessible or not recorded.
The WERE company website has further details of WERE’s restoration work at the Arlington Baths.
- Minton Hollins & Company – The Potteries website
- The Minton Archives
- Jesse Rust & Sons – WERE resoration website
- Jesse Rust and his Son, Vitreous Mosaic Manufacturers of Battersea, by Rita Ensig in Wandsworth Historian, Issue 90, Autumn 2010