Bathing fully clothed
Posted by Shirley on April 24, 1998 at 16:10:50:
In response to Pump Room, written by Julieanne on April 23, 1998 at 21:09:24
] ] ] what was the the Pump Room in Bath that JA refers to
] ] in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. What was it used for and why does it have that name?
] ] You could drink natural mineral water from the springs in Bath there, supposedly to improve your health, but it was also a social meeting point.
] The Pump Room was one of the fashionable meeting-places in Bath. The place goes back to Roman times, and Roman Baths were discovered under the Pump Room in 1755. The waters were supposed to have medicinal qualities, and were prescribed for patients by their doctors. Miss Tilney speaks of how her father 'can seldom be persuaded to give the waters what I consider a fair trial' - he would be 'taking' them for his health. JA herself in a letter speaks of her father being prescribed two and maybe three glasses of water over a period of days, which gives some idea of the way it was taken. There were also hot baths - where Mrs Smith went in 'Persuasion'.
In the film of Northangar Abbey there is a scene of people bathing fully clothed, and with little trays around their necks for thier snacks, drinks etc. Also unisex. The first time I saw this I ciouldn't believe my eyes, but I realised that a film made by the BBc, however unusual (because it is a bit strange), would not have just made up this sort if detail. The British take their history far too seriously for that. I guess that is pretty much how the bathing was conducted!
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