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August 10th 2015
3 min read

A Brief History of Basins and Showers

It is amazing at the difference in the bathrooms of today and those of the past, when many homes did not even have running water. We take our modern day bathrooms very much for granted but take a look at what families had to contend with in days gone by.

Wash basins

Until plumbing became commonplace in the late 1800s early 1900s a porcelain bowl and jug was used by the wealthy. This was usually placed on a wash stand or dresser in the bedroom.

With the introduction of piped water the washbasin was plumbed in, often set in a floor-standing wooden cabinet or a shallow box supported on legs. People had washstands in their bedrooms, so at first they just put sinks and taps into them but they quickly realised that it didn’t make sense to run plumbing to every bedroom when it was cheaper to bring it all to one place, and so the idea of the bathroom was born.


In the late 1800s, some wealthier people had shower fittings, mounted on a frame over the bath with a manual pump providing the water. It was not until the middle of the next century that showers became more common and grew to be a popular way of saving time in the bathroom.


Bathtubs in wealthy households were elaborately designed, with cast iron bodies and gargoyle style claw legs. Today even though modern designs and materials have taken over many people still choose this style of bath.

For the working and middle classes the need for better hygiene in daily life increased and with the advent of running water, toilets could be moved inside and bathtubs could be used rather than metal tubs dragged in from outside and used in front of the fire. A need for privacy was also a factor and during the early 19th and 20th century saw the emergence of the modern bathroom.

Bathroom styles continued to evolve and from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s coloured bathroom suites were the most popular. Pastel colours such as pink, peach, blue and green were fashionable. Heavy cast iron baths had been replaced by cheaper and lighter resins, acrylic and fibreglass.

During the 1990’s and early 2000’s trends changed again and standard white bathroom suites, with accents provided by coloured walls, tiles and mood lighting were now popular. Showers now became the norm, with some people getting rid of the bath completely, opting instead for a shower enclosure.

Today, the bathroom is no longer just a room for cleansing and bathing it has developed into a sophisticated space, used for pampering and relaxing. It is not uncommon to find spa style shower enclosures, Jacuzzi baths, stylish washbasins and vanity units, each with trendy taps and accessories.

Here at Easy Bathrooms, we have an extensive range of basins and showers  at affordable prices, so don’t put up with a bathroom from “the dark ages” visit our website or come along and see us and let us help you to create a fabulous 21st century bathroom!