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Posted: 06th September 2021

Category: Design

Why is a slipper bath called a slipper bath?

Many products in the Bayswater range have a fascinating back story that we wanted to share with you, especially why and how some of the original bath designs came about.

Have you ever wondered why the slipper bath got both its name and shape?

The first slipper baths began life is washhouses and bathhouses of the Victorian era. During this time, diseases were rife amongst the population and one of the ways the experts at the time tried to control them was by telling the public to clean and bathe regularly. However, unless you were rich at the time, homes in working-class and middle-class Victorian England did not have their own bath tub - if people bathed, it would be in a small tub that they placed in front of the fire. The solution was the slipper bath.

But why the shape? The higher curved end of the bath was originally designed to give the bather extra privacy. The deeper end of the bath also allows the user to relax in more water, while the taps at the shallow end are out of the way. Users also draped towels across the shallower end to protect modesty, making them look just like slippers.

These days, the shape of the bath helps to keep hot water hotter for longer – perfect for today’s homes where the bath is often less of a means of keeping clean and more of a relaxation activity.

BAYB115 Slipper Bath Stiffkey Blue

The boat bath (or bateau bath) also has an interesting history.

The bateau bath design was first credited to a French designer and manufacturer, Joseph Delafon. First sold in the mid-19th century, the baths were essentially a statement of status as lower classes didn't have access to domestic bathrooms in the sense that we understand them today. Unlike the slipper bath, bateau bath was installed into the homes of the upper classes.

The first bateau baths were made out of cast iron. These days, we’d find them very heavy for the way our homes were built, but back then, houses were designed with this in mind. More often than not, they would rest on marble foundations…expensive right?! But just as we’ve mentioned already, the bateau bath was only for the very wealthy, and so this wasn’t a problem.

Bayswater Boat Bath Straight On Stiffkey Blue LOW RES

When bathrooms became mainstream…

As bathrooms became more popular, and filtered down to the middle classes, the classical British roll top bath was born (Bayswater still offers this style today). It would often be single ended with a ball and claw cast iron feet. They could be anything between five and eight feet in length either parallel sided or tapered like a coffin in shape. The larger ones could have shower attachments and were known as plunger or canopy baths.

These days, all three different designs are popular with homeowners, and rather than class, the bath you go for is down to personal choice. Which one is your favourite?

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