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Monday, 22 September 2014

Roman Bath House


OK it looks like a rubble of rocks but let me explain the significance of the rubble.  This is the remains of a Roman Bath House.  The Billingsgate house and Bath House were believed to have been built in 2AD.  It is a very important find as it is the only known building to survive from Roman London that was still in use as late as the 5th century, the end of the Roman era here.

A model of what the bath house would have looked like is pictured on the left.  It is unusual as it is too small to be a public bath house, and the deign of the house itself, plus the artefacts found during the excavations clearly indicate it was not the property of a wealthy owner.  One theory is that it could have been a private spa.

Let me explain how the bath house (left) was used.  The little room at the front on the left hand side was the hot steam room.  The water from an underground spring was heated under the floor, then piped across to the little room on the right hand side.  This was the warm room.

The large room at the rear is the cold room.  Bathers could cool of here and have the hair pluckers remove    all body hair, as was the fashion of the day.



The image above is a glimpse of the hot room.  What you are seeing here is the floor of the room, the pipes carrying the heated water would have lain where the gaps that look a bit like tunnels on the left of the frame.

The entire ruin was so well preserved as it was buried under a thick layer of debris as a result of the London fire in 1666.

11 comments:

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Fabulous. I'd like to see that next time I'm in the City.

Adullamite said...

Very interesting!

Stefan Jansson said...

Thanks for the history lesson.

Bill Nicholls said...

Never knew about that, one more place to visit

Sharon Anck said...

Wow, this is so interesting. I would love to see it in person. The age of the place is simply mind-boggling.

perambulatingphotographer said...

A fascinating story. There is so much wonderful history in London.

Lois said...

Amazing! I wish I had known about this when I was in London this past summer. I did visit Bath though and enjoyed seeing the Roman Baths there, until I tripped and fell on one of the balconies and broke my camera. Fortunately all my pictures remained intact!

Dave said...

The Romans were so clever. When you see what they had then and how long it took us to catch up its amazing.

William Kendall said...

I would enjoy seeing that; archaeology appeals to me.

The term hair pluckers leaves me with a chill up the proverbial spine. Ouch!

Jack said...

Mo, your posts are often remarkably informative. Like today. Hair pluckers? If one of them tried to do that to me, he would get a punch in the mouth.

Katharine A said...

Never been here. Thanks for flagging it up. Adding it to my list of places to visit.

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