I am not Steven Hawking nor would claim to be. Like a lot of people I have A Brief History of Time on my shelf and when I attempted to read it I did not understand a word. I do like the title so I thought I could write a brief history of random stuff that can be understood. This is just normal stuff that we all use every day and that we might not know its history.
My first thought is that it must be a Roman invention. That is what we were taught at school that the first baths were introduced by the Romans. My research has uncovered that there is evidence of early plumbing for bathing in India going back to over 3000 BC. That means people were going for a quick soak in the bath over 5,000 years ago.
In Ancient Greece people used bathtubs and basins to wash in much the same way we do today. When archaeologists were examining King Minos’ palace at Knosses in Crete they found bathtubs that were 3,000 years old. The Greeks introduced public baths and showers so people could relax and keep clean.
The Romans were the clever ones as they invented a central heating system so that they could bathe in warm water. It might not have been as sophisticated as modern central heating with column radiators but by heating the water with a log fire and channelling it into the bathing room the principle was much the same.
It is only comparatively recently that the bathroom was born as the room we all take for granted. Most working class houses had an outside toilet and people washed in communal areas. If you have ever read your D H Lawrence you will know that bath time was once a week in a tin bath in front of the fire. In Patrick Hamilton’s Siege of Pleasure the working class Jenny is suspicious of the bath her upper class friend encourages her to take.
Nowadays most people bathe daily in either the shower or bath. We are told that if you want to sell a house it is important to spend money on the bathroom. It is probably the only room in which we look at ourselves (admittedly first thing in the morning when we don’t look our best!) We relax in there, we think in there and some of us may get up to mischief in there! Whatever we do we know that we all love our bathrooms.