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Billingsgate Roman Bathhouse

Billingsgate old market

Situated beneath an office building at 101 Lower Thames Street, Roman remains of a private house and baths were discovered in 1848 during the building of the Coal Exchange.

Between 1967 and 1970, this was replaced by another building and Lower Thames Street was enlarged.

The previously discovered remains had been preserved in the cellar of the earlier building.

During the redevelopment of the area, further excavations were made at the site and all the remains found were incorporated into the cellar of the new building.

The bathhouse had belonged to a Roman house erected in the late 2nd century. In the 3rd century a bath was added in an open courtyard which included a cold room (frigidarium), a warm room (tepidarium) and a hot room (caldarium).

Bathhouses were a Roman institution. Some grand houses had a private bathhouse but this was as rare as having a swimming pool today. There were no individual baths; bathing was something you did in the company of others. So even in private houses there was no expectation that you would bathe alone.

The whole complex was used until the beginning of the 5th century.

The City of London offer tours of the bathhouse.