David Urquhart

1805 - 1877

Diplomat, who brought the 'Turkish Bath' to Britain. Born at Braelangwell (near Cromarty), Urquhart was educated on the continent and then at St John's College, (Oxford). Joining the navy, he served under Thomas Cochrane, the Earl of Dundonald (1775 - 1860), fighting for the Greeks in their war of independence from Turkey. He was severely wounded while serving on the frigate Hellas (1827).

In 1831, he was appointed a diplomat in the British legation to Turkey, with the role of determining the final location of a frontier between Greece and Turkey. He became a great supporter of Turkey, publishing Turkey and its Resources (1833), and denouncing Russia's designs in the region. He was recalled by Lord Palmerston, although returned as Secretary to the British Embassy in Constantinople (1835). He was recalled for a second time in 1837 when intervened again to counteract Russian aggression. Urquhart was elected as a Member of Parliament for Stafford in 1847 and served in this role until 1852, during which time he conducted an energetic campaign against Palmerston's foreign policy. He spoke against British involvement in the Crimean War (1854-6), suggesting the Turks were more than capable of fighting their own battles.

Urquhart founded the Free Press in 1855 (later renamed the Diplomatic Review) as a mouth-piece for his views and this publication numbered Karl Marx amongst its contributors.

His books included the Pillars of Hercules (1850) and The Lebanon (1860). In the former Urquhart promoted the use of Turkish baths and was later to supervise the construction of same in Jermyn Street, London.

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