Today we made our way from Cardiff to Bath. We hopped on a train at 8:30 this morning and arrived here in Bath around 9:35. When we got to the hostel we dropped off our luggage and headed downtown to the Roman Bath Museum. The Roman Baths is a preserved building where the Romans would publically bathe. It’s what we would call a bath house today.
There are four features to the bath house: the sacred spring, the Roman temple, the Roman bath house and the museum. The baths themselves are below street level but the buildings that are above street level date back to the 19th century.
The spring was founded in 836 BC by a British king named Bladud, who was also the person to build the bath. There is a legend that goes with the bath: King Bladud had leprosy and walked through the waters of the bath and was healed. The story is probably not true but it has been passed along for a long time.
During the Roman occupation of Britain, the Romans drove oak piles into the mud and surrounded that with stone to create a stable foundation for the bath. Later it was enclosed within a wooden barrel vaulted building which included hot, warm, and cold baths. Eventually the Romans left Britain and the Bath began to fall apart due to flooding.
The baths have been modified several times. In the 12th century, John of Tours built curative bath over the King’s resovoir. In the 16th century, the city corporation built a new bath, known as Queen’s Bath, just south of the spring.
The Roman Baths museum holds many artifacts that were found inside the spring. Most of the objects found were quite literally in the spring. Apparently they had been thrown into the bath, most likely as offerings to the goddesses. Objects found include: currency, head statue from the temple, pendents, and parts of pillars. The museum also displays the remains of the heating systems that were used in the sweating rooms. Some of the figures that line the bath have been damaged due to acid rain. They have since been receiving treatment every year. A new ventilation system was put into the museum in 2006 because some of the exhibits reacted to warm air.
Bath had the duty of taking care of the spring by a Royal Chater of 1591 by Elizabeth 1. This is now the duty of Bath and North East Somerset Council, who monitor water pressure levels, temperature, and flow rates.
Other than visiting the Baths, we visited the Abbey and had the chance to climb the tower where we got to see the clock, inside ceiling above the east end, the bells, and the roof of the tower. The tower had a total of 218 steps but we didn’t climb the entire tower in one go.
After we saw the abbey we had the rest of the day to find food and go shopping. In the shopping district (shopping square) they had one road with umbrellas covering the top. I thought it was really cool and decided to travel down that path.