The story of the bathtub
We focus on the fascinating history of humble household items. This month, the biography of the bath
Tin tubs, avocado suites and beyond...
Before bathing became a solitary, indulgent activity, it was a practical, shared pleasure. From Southwark’s medieval bathhouses to Tudor knights’ sessions in a herb-infused pool in the Tower of London, the bath was enjoyed by all. Lucy Worsley, author of If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home (Faber, £12.99) tells us that the modern love of bathing arrived with the birth of the bathroom in the early 20th century. ‘It became positive to wallow in a bath thanks to Hollywood – when people saw film stars drinking cocktails and talking on the telephone in a bubble bath,’ she says. Here are some highlights of the tub’s deep, occasionally murky, history.