History of Baths
The act of cleaning has been a part of human culture ever since we came into being; however true bathing has only become practical with the rise of human civilisation.
Our earliest plumbing systems are found in the palaces of the rich dating back to 3000BC, when copper water pipes were built into the palaces of the Indus Valley civilisation of ancient India. The culture we most often associate with baths and bathing are probably the Romans, who had highly sophisticated plumbing systems and large public baths throughout their Empire by 500BC.
Whilst the average Roman was encouraged to use the public baths that we find ruins of throughout Europe, they also offered private bathing rooms for the wealthy. These private rooms were ornately decorated and would look more like small, shallow swimming pools that filled the entire room. These huge bathtubs were marble lined and served by lead and bronze pipes to deliver water and take it away via a complicated sewage system.
This element of Roman culture is widely believed to have gradually died off as the Empire collapsed; the famous Roman baths at Bath in England fell into complete disrepair and silted up and that sequence repeated across much of Europe. Bathing no doubt still continued, with soap-making becoming a true trade in the early Middle Ages, however the elaborate and social approach popularised by the Romans clearly fell out of fashion.
During the Renaissance period, early science and medicine suggested that disease could get into the body from bath water and a combination of sweat bathing and perfume took its place, but by the 19th Century, modern bathing slowly returned to vogue. The earlier bathtubs were marketed as multi use objects, far more likely to be used as a horse trough or hog scalder than a bath. But it did not take long for the idea to catch on and soon the beautiful cast iron free standing roll top baths we still love to have in our homes today began to be manufactured for wealthy Victorians.
Bathing moved into the domain of the average household even more recently, with dedicated bathrooms extremely rare in 1921, but as rebuilding from World War 1 took place, the bathroom became a more essential component of a house. Time and technology gradually moved away from claw foot tubs to built-in designs that were soon made from low cost plastics, acrylics and fibreglass.
People say fashions go in cycles and with baths that is certainly true, after the near demise of the cast iron claw foot tub, it has made it’s way back into popularity, first with interior designers or TV and film set designers, and then with the explosion of home improvement television that revealed how you could pick up an old cast iron tub for pennies at a scrap yard, than get it professionally re-enamelled into a centrepiece of your bathroom.
Whatever your choice in bath, renovation has always been an option with the support of an expert and we help hundreds of people keep classic cast iron roll tops and more modern acrylics in as-new condition with our range of bath resurfacing and chip repairs for baths.
In fact, we have a wide variety of clients from across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, North London, Essex and Buckinghamshire, including Luton, Stevenage, Hatfield, St Albans, Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester, Watford, Islington, Enfield, Edgware, Oxford, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes and Bedford.
If you would like to know more, contact us today and we can arrange a no obligation quotation with one of our friendly team.