Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Royal Waterloo Bath

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Loretta reports:
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, 1819 (June)


Isobel Carr said...

Ah, the Regency-era prudery about the naked human form at its finest . . . I love the fact that naked men swimming would have been a common sight in the 18th century (there were even naked footraces in the streets and parks of London!).

Gemma said...

Call me cynical but my first thought was to wonder how clean the river water would have been. A river running through a town/city makes a convenient sewer.

Isobel Carr said...

Pretty sure the Thames would have been disgusting . . .

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket