The Bath Tub
I remember spending a weekend with my aunt, uncle and cousins; they had rented a home on Tockholes Road in Darwen. I do not know if it was a farmhouse or just a regular house which seemed to be in the country. I always enjoyed being with my cousins. I was the youngest and they all spoiled me. We played all kind of games: Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Snap... it is funny how I remember this but it was enjoyable. I remember it was cold, so we could not play outside.
My aunt was a great cook and made all kinds of goodies: cream horns, etc. Now the thing I remember most about the house is that when it came bedtime, my aunt said it was time for my bath. Being younger I was the first to bathe and first to bed.
I wondered where I was going to get this bath, as in so many houses back then there were no bathrooms as we know them now. I still think of a roaring fire in the kitchen fireplace and a large black metal kettle. not the kind you used for making tea, but they did heat water in it, and from the way my uncle lifted it off a big hook which held the kettle or urn it must have been very heavy.
While I was still wondering about my bath, my aunt got my nightgown out of my case. Then she went over and removed a hooked rug in front of the fireplace and there was a ring or something similar. She pulled on this and the floor in front of the fireplace was on hinges there. Lo and behold, in front of this nice hot fire and below floor level was a metal bath tub. It had been concealed with the rug. I must admit I had never seen one like it before or since. Soon my uncle removed the kettle and poured the hot water into the tub and my aunt added cold water until the temperature was just right. In the meantime my uncle was refilling the kettle and hung it back on the hook to heat more water.
Now I must admit I was a little leery about getting into that tub, as to me, being a small child, it looked so big. I was finally persuaded that I was not about to be drowned and reluctantly got into the bath with a little help from my aunt. I must admit it was fun, so nice and warm from that fire that I was enjoying it. Too soon I was lifted out and wrapped in a warm towel and into my gown. Then my cousin Wilma took her turn in this bath. She wasn't in too long and both she and I were off to bed. I still had two more cousins there but they were boys and though I cannot swear to it, I think a little more hot water was added to the bath and they bathed together.
I am still not sure how the water was drained out of this tub - whether it had some kind of drain or had to be emptied by out by using a large jug or something similar. I often wonder if that house is still there. I would love to find out more about that bath.
(Copyright Hilda Graham, 1989)