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The history behind our bathrooms

June 08, 2018   |   By

When you think of your bathroom, it’s only natural to think of ‘me time’ — a warm soak in the tub on a quiet evening. However, the world’s first bathrooms were actually public baths, where cleansing was seen as more of a collective, purifying activity than a daily essential. Indeed, there were no rubber duckies to be seen back in 3000 BC, when it’s believed the first public bath was built in the Indus Valley Civilisation, what is now modern day Pakistan.

mohenjo daro

As time went on, the Romans and Greeks started to recognise the value of a daily scrub and so the large, pool-like public baths became smaller, more private affairs thanks to the gradual introduction of sanitation and indoor plumbing. Over in the UK in 1546, King Henry VIII shut down public baths for good as he blamed the shared water for the spread of sickness. Although, private bathrooms would remain a luxury for the wealthy and many people resorted to fresh linen and heavy perfumes as a way to stay clean.


marina white bathroom

Thankfully, we’ve come a long since then and it was around the 19th century that bathing was recognised as a matter of wellbeing. Homes were starting to change too and bathroom design evolved from a toilet and shower, with a sink in the bedroom, to the tranquil, dedicated spaces we know now. Today, we’re spoilt for choice with bathroom fittings from tubs and taps to towel rails and wet room floor tiles.


limestone bathroom tiles

We haven’t completely forgotten the humble origins of those first bathrooms. As resources were limited all those thousands of years ago, those wishing to build public baths had to find durable and sustainable materials that would hold water. Where better to start than the very ground beneath them? The use of natural stone goes way back to around 2500 BC where it’s believed the Egyptians built limestone bathing areas where they could sit to have warm water poured over them.


limestone bathroom wall tiles

There are many great benefits of natural stone bathrooms too — it’s resistant to humidity, easy to maintain and hardwearing with plenty of choice to find a finish that suits your home. Whatever you’re looking for, our experts are on hand to help, so why not check out our current range of wonderful stone and get in touch today.