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The Long (and Fascinating) History of the Common Bathroom


The Long (and Fascinating) History of the Common Bathroom

When is the last time you considered the history of the humble bathroom? The chances are you never have. And unless you’re actively looking to create an all-new whirlpool bathroom, it’s easy to see why. But the history of the modern bathroom is actually – believe it or not – quite fascinating. Let’s wind the clock back and run through the long and interesting history of one of our most essential rooms…

The earliest bathrooms

The first recorded mention of a bathroom being used dates back to around 3000 BC, however its use was radically different. Due to religion being much more widespread at the time, water was used to ‘cleanse’ people as they entered sacred rooms or areas. From a sanitation point of view, towns and villages often had communal baths which were to be shared by many families. Naturally, these communal baths were located away from the centre of the village for at least some semblance of privacy. It’s likely the much of the disease and health issues that were prevalent at the time could be attributed to this shared bathing. It wasn’t until public sanitation became widespread that such issues could be solved.

Ancient Roman plumbing

One of the most famous bathrooms comes from Ancient Rome. We often hear about the large communal baths these people used, but there were one or two individual bathtubs. One such example dates back to 1700 BC, and was found in the Palace of Knossos in Crete. The amazing thing about this bath is that it is very similar from a functional point of view to modern baths. It was made from a hard clay, but featured a twin plumbing system to direct both hot and cold water. That’s quite an incredible achieving considering modern bathtubs weren’t prevalent in the west until thousands of years later. Lots of other examples of this type of bathtub were found around the same time – many of which were made from alabaster and similar hard-wearing materials.

The rise of the private bathroom

Around the time that ‘proper’ sanitation became more widespread, a demand for specific private rooms for bathing became prevalent – and for very good reasons. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, fewer and fewer people were using the communal baths installed in cities across Europe. Private spaces began to be built into homes with specific non-plumbed bathtubs often heated by open fires. By the 19th and 20th centuries, the bathroom as we know it today was finally realised. It’s also worth noting that in certain cultures, like Japan, communal bathing is still a popular pastime. In fact, the many spas you’ll find across the UK are a derivative of this kind of activity.

Has the long and winding history of the bathroom got you inspired to give yours a makeover? If so, why not check out our full range of bathroom products at The Spa Bath Co.? Or just call our friendly team today.

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