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The History of the Roman Bath Museum, York.

By Isabelle Blexill

In celebration of local history awareness month, we visited the Roman Bath Museum in York. York is home to lots of different historical attractions. The Roman Bath Museum is one of many tourist hot spots however, it wasn’t until 1929 that the remains of a Roman bath was discovered.

The pub was previously named the ‘Mail Coach Inn’ before the pub caught fire and the remains of a military roman bath were discovered whilst restoring the pub. The main exhibit in the museum is a bath called the ‘Caldarium’ or hot room which dates back to 71AD when York was known as Eboracum.

Manager of the Roman Bath Museum, Graham Harris, said “It was actually found in 1929 when there was a big fire. It did lots of damage, took the whole roof off the place and so they decided to dig for a bigger cellar and that’s when they found the remains we have here”.

This particular bath house is different to others that have been discovered as it is a military bath house for soldiers. The fortress that the bath house would have been part of was a legionary fortress which means that there would have been over 5000 men within it.

There are 3 different parts of a bath house; the Frigidarium, the Tepidarium and the Caldarium. Roman soldiers would use the outdoor gym before freshening up in the Frigidarium (cold bath). After this, they would relax in the hot room which is also known as the Tepidarium. Finally, they would move on to the Caldarium which is a hot room. The heat from the hot room would make them sweat. After they’d been in all three baths, they would then need to get their temperature back down by revisiting the Tepidarium and the Frigidarium.

Harry McCormack went down to the museum to find out more about how the Roman Baths would have been used back in the day.