Welcome to the Roman Baths Blog!

This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head

While I've been here in Bath, on my placement, I've found it a little hard getting used to all the rain. I'm from a place that has a naturally dry climate so it doesn't rain very often and there is little moisture in the air. When it does rain back home, it most certainly does not rain like it does here in Bath. One minute it's bright and sunny and the next you're caught in a torrential downpour. Where I'm from you can quite literally see the weather "rollin' in" for hours. You never get stuck without an umbrella.

One of my favourite things to do when it is raining is to go down to the baths and watch the water falling on them. It always looks so beautiful.

The Great Bath Diving Stone
I must admit that during moments like those I quite enjoy the rain, even when it was raining almost constantly there for a few weeks. I find the rain quite relaxing when I have time to sit and think and watch it reflect the light and change my surroundings.

The Great Bath

Here at the Baths there are so many beautiful places to sit and watch the rain falling down on the spring waters. I really suggest that the next time it starts to rain and you have nothing to do you come visit the Great Bath, the Sacred Spring or which ever pool is your favourite. Just sit and watch the waters meet and let your mind wander.

Katrina Elizabeth

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Speed Dating with Clay Pipes

Clay Pipe: So what do you spend most of your time doing?

Me: Um. I like hanging out at museums. You?

CP: I like smoking.

Me: Really? Do you smoke a lot?

CP: Yeah. All the time. Well, actually just once. Once is all you need really. Most clay pipes just do it once.

Me: Oh I see...

Just once? Could be.

Clay pipes were cheap and mass produced. People bought them, used them a threw them away.

The shape of the bowls and stems changed a bit over the years making it possible to date them. If you’re lucky you’ll find a maker’s mark on the stem or foot which will make your life infinitely easier. If you have a maker’s mark you just need to look up when that producer was in business.

However, if you’ve just got unmarked stems and bowls you’re better off using this chart. It won’t give you precise dates (it takes an expert for that) but it will help you narrow it down.


Try your hand at dating the pipes in the picture and post your answers in the comments.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Best Museums

So, floating around the education office right now is an article about father-son bonding in the museum, accompanied (of course) by a list of museums designed around big testosterone-provoking machines, funky bad Viking smells, and good atmosphere. (Including the Roman Baths, of course!)

In response here’s MY museum list! Museums aren’t just good for dads and lads, you know. Here’s a list of (in my own humble opinion) some of the best and oddest museums any museum junkie should know about. Comment if you think I’ve missed any worth mentioning!

Best Museum to Catch up on Fashion Trends: The Fashion Museum, of course! They’ve just updated their ‘trends’ display for Autumn and Winter 2010. Definitely worth checking out.

Apparently, Helmut Lang ALWAYS thinks black is this season’s ‘it’ colour…

Best Museum to make you feel good about your lack of art skills: Hands down, this is the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA): the only museum in the world ‘dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms.’ Much of their permanent collection was acquired out of trashcans, and when one of their pieces was stolen, the thief was so anxious to get rid of it that he paid the museum to take it back. True story.

Best Museum to waste time with on the internet: The Bata shoe museum may seem unappealing to the half of the population who DOESN’T get excited about cute shoes, BUT WAIT! There’s more! Check out their online display about Shoes That Work, and prepare to be amazed with the rugged manliness inherent in Tree Climbing Clogs, mountaineering boots, and… Grizzly bear shoes? They’ve even got a shoe that was designed for the Canadian Military for when they clear out land mine fields. Shoes that save lives, neat!

Best Museum to question the meaning of the word ‘museum’: I’d say that’s the condiment package museum. It’s a website dedicated to the display of condiment packages. Is it a museum just because it displays collections, though? I’ve spent hours trying to decide. Comment and tell me if you think it is, isn’t or if I’m just kind of sad for spending that much time on it.

Best speed dating museum: The Freud museum! Where else but in the home of Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyzer of dreams extraordinaire, could you expect to find the guy (or gal) of your dreams? They’ve held a couple of dating events, which seemed kind of successful.


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Speed Dating with Glass Bottles

Me: May I ask how old you are?

Glass Bottle: No, but you can try and guess.

Me: Alright, let me see. Hmm... Judging from the slenderness of your neck I’d say you last partied with Major Davis. Am I right?

GB: Ha ha. Trying to flatter me, are you? Try again.

Me: Hmmm. On second thought that base looks more like it belongs in John Wood’s company.

GB: You’re getting closer...

I’m sure your mother told you never to judge a book by its cover because first impressions can be misleading but speed dating is all about snap judgements.

Certain shapes were popular during certain eras making it fairly simple to date the bottle if you have the right pieces. Obviously dating complete bottles is the easiest but you can still get some good information from bits and pieces. That is, if you have the right pieces. Rims, bases and necks are usually pretty distinct and can be dated.

Here at the Roman Baths we use these simple charts to do a preliminary sort for our bottles. Once we’ve got it narrowed down we bring out the books to refine our identification.

 Why don’t you try your hand at dating some glass bottles. Post your guess in the comments.

By the way... John Wood and Major Davis were architects in the Georgian and Victorian periods respectively.