Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Royal Waterloo Bath—from the Archives

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Royal Waterloo Bath, London
Loretta reports:

A great many structures were named after the 18 June 1815 Battle of Waterloo, whose 200th anniversary we commemorate this week. Many still exist.  This doesn't.

This very elegant floating bath is stationed near the north end of the Waterloo-bridge, and has recently been built and completed with entirely new and substantial materials, in a style of superior accommodation, at a very considerable expense: it contains a plunging-bath, 24 feet long by 8 feet wide, and two private baths, 10 feet long by 8 feet wide. The depth may be regulated at pleasure by machinery, which raises or depresses the bottom as required, secured by cross timbers, and bound with iron. To each of the baths are attached small dressing-rooms, commodiously fitted up, with proper persons to attend upon visitors. These baths are so constructed, that the water, being a running stream, is changed every two minutes. The advantage of bathing in a flowing stream is obvious, and gives a decided preference over a cold still bath, which is frequently dangerous from the violence of the shock. The terms of bathing, as our readers will see, are extremely moderate: they are—

                                             £     s.    d.
In the plunging-bath .  0     1     0
For the season . . . . . .  1    11    6
In the private baths .   0     1     6
For the season. . . . . .    2     2     0

Constant attendance at Waterloo-bridge to convey visitors to and from the bath.

Bathing is so essentially connected with health, that we cannot but congratulate the public on this new establishment. It is singular that so few of the kind should be known in London, while there is scarcely a street in the French metropolis that has not its cold, warm, vapour, Chinese, and Tuscan baths, with a variety of others, suiting the capricious tastes of the inhabitants. Yet how deficient they are in the most important article connected with bathing everybody knows, while we have a noble river filled with the purest and most wholesome waters in the world. The want of baths in London has led to the incommodious and indecorous practice of public exposure in the Thames.
Ackermann's Repository, Vol. 7, June 1819

You can expect more about 19th century bathing in a future post.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will allow you to read at the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds like the water in question is the Thames, which them would have been utterly filthy!

LorettaChase said...

MrsC, my guess is, people had a better resistance to the filth than we would, because they were exposed to it from infancy. According to Flanders' The Victorian City, "By 1828, nearly 150 sewers were disgorging into the Thames." And even the well-off lived over cesspools. I can't even imagine...

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