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THE KING'S AND QUEEN'S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE Baths.
PRIVATE BATHS AND DOUCHES.
The Private Baths occupy the upper story; the Public Baths are on the basement story ; they are built according to the plans of Mr. Baldwin, the foundation stone having been laid May 10, 1788. On the upper story there are four baths, of which one is a reclining bath, lined with white porcelain tiles, fitted with traps, by means of which it is supplied with hot and cold mineral water; the other three are large baths similarly lined, each of which will hold 864 gallons of water, with a depth of four feet six inches. In each there is 'a Douche for the local application of the water, if required, while the bather is in the bath. They are sufficiently large to afford space for the free movement of the bather, and occupy the greater portion of the Bath-rooms, which are twelve feet long, seven feet wide, and eleven feet high ; also, two handsome Aix Douches, with one, or two, attendants ; the fittings are of the most elaborate kind ; the ceilings, 19 feet in
1 height, are also decorated with white encaustic tiles. The hot water is thrown up from the bottom of the bath, and the cold water is turned on from a tap above the steps, and as it flows over them into the bath, mingles with the hot water. To all the baths convenient and comfortable dressing rooms and closets are attached, containing every requisite for the invalid. In addition to the baths, there are also two douche rooms, and a room containing a thermal vapour and shower bath of the most approved construction.
DOUCHE ROOMS. These rooms are each connected with a dressing room, and are for the local application of the water, or dry douching,” so called, in contrast with the douche used in the bath. The distribution of the water may be regulated by the attachment of large, small, or perforated nozzles to the douche pipe, so that a larger or smaller stream may be made to ascend on the part douched, or it may be more gently applied by means of perforated or rose nozzle. Here also are provided tepid, and cold, as well as hot Mineral Water douches.
SHOWER AND VAPOUR BATH. There is a Shower and a Vapour Bath in the basement. In the former, the mineral waters are used ; and it is so arranged thật the height from which the water descends can be regulated as occasion may require. The vapour of the latter is derived from the mineral waters. It forms a useful adjunct to the Mineral Baths.
PUBLIC BATA. This bath is reached by descending a spiral staircase from the vestibule of the Private Baths. This is the King's Bath, which is open to the sky. It is somewhat more than fifty-nine feet in length, and nearly forty in breadth. When filled, it is computed to contain 56,332 gallons of water, with a depth of four feet and a half.
At the eastern end of the corridor there is an inclined passage for wheel-chairs, which is approached by an entrance in Abbey place, communicating with the Abbey Yard.
On the eastern side, there were other recesses, which admitted of being partially closed in ; the centre one contained a douche. The colonnade has recently been removed. On the south side there is a stone chair and bench, the former bearing the following inscription, “ANASTASIA GREW GAVE THIS, 1739.” Above the stone chair is a mural tablet recording the gift of an ornamental balustrade for the bath, by Sir
Francis Stonor, in 1697, the ornamental portion of which between the balusters was restored a few years ago, and a balustrade of the same pattern placed on the eastern side of the bath.
Not far distant from this is a figure of Bladud in à sitting posture, and below it an inscription on copper, dated 1699. According to Stukeley, this statue formerly occupied a niche in the North Gate above the arch, where, in 1363, it represented King Edward III. It was taken down from thence and somewhat altered by a common mason to represent King Bladud, and then transferred to this Bath. It bears the following honourable testimony to the accomplishments and services of this ancient British monarch :
Son of LUD HUDIBRAS,
Bred at Athens,
To the Present Year, One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine." Many of the brazen rings, attached to the walls of the bath, commemorate the benefits received by the donors from the use of the waters; others were placed there for the benefit of bathers by the Corporation. According to Guidott, there were 208 rings in all the baths, of which not twenty-nine remain at the present time. Some, it is said, were sold for old brass, one or two of which have been recently recovered.
THERMAL VAPOUR AND SHOWER BATH, In order to utilize the vapour from the Springs, rooms have been fitted up adjoining the King's Bath with all the appliances
which science can suggest and experience recommend. In one corner of an apartment, which is tiled throughout and laid with a tesselated pavement, is a box-like structure. Herein a patient may take his seat, the whole of his body, with the exception of his head, for which an opening is specially provided at the top, being subjected to the action of the vapour that rises in full volume direct from the springs beneath. Through a central reservoir or drum in another part of the room the vapour is conveyed in various ways, being either inhaled or locaily applied by means of various ingenious contrivances. In cases of gout, rheumatism, or any of the varied forms of skin disease, such facilities are invaluable, the treatment being proved to be most effectual. At no other spa either in England or on the Continent can the water or the vapour be used to such advantage, and a higher temperature can be gained here than elsewhere--viz., from 112° to 115o. The appointments of the baths are as complete as they can be made, whether we regard the comfort of the bathers, the efficiency of the appliances, or those æsthetic considerations which modern taste and refinement can suggest.
This bath may be regarded, historically, as the oldest in the system of baths. It was, undoubtedly, in the time of the Romans, the most capacious as well as the most luxurious of all the noble series of baths then constructed ; and so, of the open or uncovered baths, it continues. Beneath the bath the spring rises over a surface of about 40 feet square. Around these springs the Romans formed a reservoir, octagonal in shape, 40 feet at its narrowest and 49 feet at its widest part. The walls forming the reservoir were 3 feet in width, built of solid block stone, and lined with lead, varying in thickness from 5/-in. to 1 inch. From this reservoir thc water was conveyed by pipes and ducts to the various baths around. The destruction which followed the departure of the Romans caused these Baths to be filled with débris, but in course of time this formed a foundation, through which the water forced its way. Formerly a stone floor was laid, so perforated as to admit the rising springs. This floor, with the accumulation of débris beneath, has been removed down to the Roman level, and the Roman reservoirs again serve their original purpose. The whole space is covered by arches of cement and concrete, the upper surface of which forms the floor of the present King's Bath.
THE QUEEN'S BATA [LATE]. The Queen's Bath is now a thing of the past. ing up of the Roman Remains necessitated its removal.
It was a square of 25 ft., attached to the King's Bath, and supplied with water from it by an arch, connecting them together; but of a temperature somewhat lower. It received its name from the following circumstance :-As Anne, the queen of King James the First, was bathing in the King's Bath, there arose from the bottom of the cisterm, just by the side of her Majesty, a flame of fire like a candle, which had no sooner ascended to the top of the water than it spread itself upon the furnace into a large circle of light, and then became extinct. This so frightened the Queen, that notwithstanding the physicians assured her the light proceeded from a natural cause, yet she would bathe no more in the King's Bath, but betook herself to the New Bath, were there were no springs to cause the like phænomenon ; and from thence the cistern
l was called the Queen's Bath. It was soon enlarged, and the citizens erecting a tower or cross in the middle of it, in honour of the Queen, finished it at the top with the figure of the Crown of England over a globe, on which was written in letters of gold, ANNA REGINA SACRUM.'
THE CROSS BATH. This is a cheap public bath, of an irregular form. The spring supplying it rises at a depth of fourteen feet below the flooring of the bath, and yields half a hogshead of water a
"A portion of the remains of this erection is to be seen in the disused Hetling Pump-room, which stands opposite St. John's Hospital.