If you were asked to close your eyes and imagine yourself soaking away the week in a hot, bubble-filled bath, then I’ll bet anything that your bath will be a Victorian roll top one!

These beautiful creations have become signature pieces, adding a glamorous finishing touch to any bathroom that’s worth its salt. You are likely to find one in some small luxury hotels, especially boutique hotels that have a historic or traditional connection.

Aside from its stylish look, the roll top bath has an interesting history too.

After the Roman Empire fell, bathing lost its popularity, and the act was only re-popularised in the 11th and 13th century, when Europe discovered it all over again. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, that bathing became a fashionable affair, and therefore desirable, and thus the debut of the cast iron bath.

Timeless Style

The ever-popular ball and claw design originated in Holland in the mid-18th century, and soon spread to England. The Scottish-born inventor David Buick invented a process for bonding porcelain enamel to cast iron in the 1880s, a process that remains broadly the same to this day.

Boutique Hotel luxury bathroom

At this time, permanent cast iron tubs were installed in aristocratic homes at first, and they quickly become a symbol of status. The baths were usually elevated and placed in the centre of the room.

Plumbing was a different matter altogether at this time. Although early plumbing systems have been found dating as far back as 3000BC in India, and later in 500BC, in a much more sophisticated form with the Romans, the early roll top baths, however, had to be emptied by hand due to the absence of plumbing in homes.

It was not until the First World War, with the possibility of permanent running water, that plumbing, and bathtub production went into full swing.

Nowadays cast iron tubs come in a variety of forms; including the traditional slipper bath, which you will find gracing the bedroom of our beautiful Hatley Suite!

A highly recommend spot to soak the week away…

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