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Bathrooms through the ages part 4 – The Middle Ages

In part 4 of our look into Bathrooms through the ages we focus on the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire came the Middle Ages, a period in history which saw a huge social change, international conflicts and dreadful natural disasters. Seen by many as a time of stagnation and regression after the fall of Rome, people in the Middle Ages had very different bathroom habits to those during Roman times.

For many people in the Middle Ages the toilet was simply a hole dug in the ground with a wooden toilet seat placed over it, however monks did built public toilets out of stone or wood situated over rivers.

In Medieval castles the toilet was called a garderobe and was a simple vertical shaft with a stone or wooden seat on top. Most garderobes emptied into the moat, but at Portchester Castle in Hampshire, stone chutes were built on the outside wall of the castle facing the sea. When the tide would come in it would wash away the sewage.

People used to hang their robes and other clothes in the garderobe, believing that the smell would get rid of moths. Over time the word garderobe changed into the word we now associate with hanging clothes up in today, a wardrobe.

During the Middle Ages the wealthy use rags to wipe their bottoms, whilst ordinary people used a plant called great mullein or common mullein.

Only the wealthy could afford to have a private bath in their residence. The majority of people did not care about their personal hygiene or even keeping clean in general, though when they did bathe they would use a wooden tub with a tent like structure over it to protect their dignity. Attendants would bring out pots and jugs of warm water to fill the tub.

During the Middle Ages glass mirrors all but disappeared, this is because during this deeply religious period of history confessions stated that the devil was watching from the other side of the glass. Women instead used either polished metal mirrors or specially shaped water bowls to see their reflections.

Full plate armour developed in Europe during the late Middle Ages and were made from iron or steel plates that would completely encase the wearer. A complete suit of armour could weigh up to 25kg, but the wearer was still able to remain highly agile as the weight was spread over the whole body. It would take a knight approximately half an hour to suit up in full armour, provided he had someone helping with the laces and buckles.

Eating habits of the wealthy and poor during the Middle Ages was very different. The lord of the manor would usually have a three course meal, but each course would have between four and six courses in it, including a range of meats and fish as well as an array of wines and ales. Some of the more unusual dishes included pigeon pie, woodcock and even peacocks.

Ordinary people during the Middle Ages ate a lot of bread and a dish called pottage. Pottage is a kind of soup stew made from oats that sometimes had beans and peas added to bulk it out. Turnips and parsnips were also staple food sources. Bread and ale were an important source of nutrition during the Middle ages, and ale in particular was drunk in copious amounts because it was safer to drink than many other water sources. The ale was boiled in the production process killing off many of the harmful pathogens.

Here is part four of our Bathrooms through the Ages comic strip:

medieval comic

All in one cloakroom solutions

This is the time of year when the house in likely to be full of guests or friends dropping in for a Christmas drink and a chat. It is also the time when perhaps we wish we had just a small room downstairs that was a handy cloakroom to take the pressure off the family bathroom.

Well often we have a small cupboard, even an under stairs cupboard that can be turned into a useful downstairs cloakroom. Space is of course the limiting factor and this is why we believe that the Aqua Cabinet All in One Cloakroom Solution could be the answer.

This cleverly designed item is designed to get the utmost out of a small space ideal for that cupboard. The All in One incorporates surface mounted basin, floor standing storage unit, toilet roll dispenser and toilet brush holder in one simple but embracing design. The basin can be supplied as a left or right handed version, similarly the cabinet door can be full reversed so you have total flexibility when installing; supplied in White, Reef, Black or Ocean colour finishes.

Aqua Cabinets All In One Cloakroom Solution

To complete the cloakroom a toilet is needed and the Saniflo compact WC & Macerator is ideal for the purpose. This utilises a macerator and in a traditional white finish this unit offers the perfect combination of comfort, functionality and economy of space. Without the need for a cistern or external tank, this smaller unit is the perfect choice for the smaller closet space or en-suite.

Saniflo compact WC & Macerator

So perhaps a little late for this year’s celebrations, these items are the perfect solution for installing a cloakroom in a little used space.

Burlington Bathroom Accessories

If you are looking for a gift to give to a special couple or to yourselves for that matter, to brighten the New Year, we have a wonderful selection of items in our bathroom accessories pages at our website.

For example how about the Burlington Wall Mounted WC Roll Holder a simple but classic design of holder that ensures that the amount of paper is always in sight with the open design. Made in high chrome the Burlington Roll Holder is very easy to keep sparkling and even easier to fix to the wall. A neat and rounded design it will fit into any style of bathroom and to install, because it comes with all of the hardware that is necessary; very easy and quick to fix.

Burlington Wall Mounted WC Roll Holder

Or perhaps the Burlington Traditional Double Liquid Soap Dispenser will finish of your bathroom in style; they certainly have style themselves and are a charming vintage bathroom accessory. Edwardian in look, they will still fit into any bathroom; period or contemporary, that era certainly had a class look that has never been bettered. The delicate white and shining chrome dispensers are pump action which can be filled with liquid soap or a moisturiser. No longer do we have to put up with soap dishes that look fine when a new and unused bar of soap is in them.

Burlington Traditional Double Liquid Soap Dispenser

No bathroom is complete without a towel rail and the Burlington Single Towel Rail is durable and sturdy, in fact it is everything you expect from Burlington products. Everything is included for wall mounting the towel holder a practical addition to any home bathroom and being Burlington, you are assured on quality that consumers now come to expect from their products.

Burlington Single Towel Rail

If you have any queries or would like help about any Burlington product, simply contact our helpful support team on 01765 694 720 and they will do their best to help. We don’t have any sales people – just helpful people who know all about bathrooms.

Choosing luxury bathroom items for a small space

When fitting out a cloakroom or an ensuite, size of bathroom items play a major roll and as space can be limited. We have a number of space saving items at our web pages, but one which has proved to be very popular is in our Burlington range seen at the pages devoted to them.

Burlington products look good and this is a tribute to their design team. The wall hung toilet is only 35.5cm in height, and with a projection of 50cm, making it ideal for fitting to a cloakroom. Available with a standard close lid and seat, or a soft-close combination, this sleek modern toilet is sold by us at a more than sensible price.

Burlington 500mm Wall Hung Toilet Suite

To complement the wall hung toilet we suggest that the Bauhaus wall hung support frame is used, which is slim in design and uses a cable controlled flush system. Using an epoxy coated steel frame ensures that this will not be affected by moisture and both the outlet pipes and cistern plus inlet is pre-fitted for faster and easier installation.

Bauhaus Wall Hung WC Support Frames

Using a Burlington Victorian Cloakroom basin in the cloakroom means that you will have a delightful wall mounted basin, which is made from ceramic material glazed with enamel, the finish looks great and it will always retain a beautiful shine. Supplied with wall brackets, the Burlington Basin is easy to fit and has two tap holes. We suggest that you take a look at the Burlington Anglesey, Claremont and Birkenhead taps at our web pages, perfect partners for your basin.

Burlington Round Victorian Cloakroom Basin

To finish off the cloakroom a Burlington arched frame mirror is of timeless design and measuring 700 x 500 mm; the neat flat design will take up very little space and is timeless in design. We supply this complete with mounting hardware, easy clean chrome frame completes this delightful period piece.

Burlington Arched Framed Mirror

Buy now and pay later to beat the New Year price increases

The beginning of a New Year is the traditional time when manufacturers increase their prices, unfortunately at UK Bathrooms we are not immune from increases that are passed onto us, but in order to beat these increases in price we are offering all our customers a chance to buy bathroom equipment at today’s price but spread the cost over a period. The really good news is that we do not impose interest charges on a huge range of items, full finance information can be found here.

All that is required is that a minimum of £500.00, excluding carriage charges, is spent and then the cost can be spread over an agreed period, the offer is restricted to online purchases. To give a simple example of how the scheme works, let us assume that the purchase price of the items is £750.00, a deposit of 20% is paid which would be £150.00 leaving a balance of £600.00 spread over twelve months, repayable at £50.00 per month.

We have arranged that up to £12,000.00 can be borrowed with a minimum deposit of 10% and on completion of the online application a decision is reached within two or three minutes. Monthly repayments are made by direct debit and the balance can be paid off early at any time.

UK Bathrooms helping you beat the New Year price increases.

new year

Laufen Palace range is great for small bathrooms

The Palace Range from Laufen is the perfect bathroom range for small bathrooms, cloakrooms and ensuites. With a modern and minimalist design, the Laufen Palace range is compact, inexpensive and looks great too.

Reducing the amount of water used in the bathroom is a key concern to home owners today, not only as a way to save money, but also as an eco-friendly way to help the environment and the Laufen Palace Close Coupled Toilet’s simple yet effective design is great for reducing the amount of water used per flush.

The close coupled toilet’s minimalist design means that it’s easy to maintain and keep clean, as well as giving a seamless look to the bathroom. There are also two seat choices to choose from, the standard close seat or the soft close seat which adds a quieter element to the room.

Laufen Palace Close Coupled Toilet Suite

The Laufen Palace Bathroom Basin comes in a range of sizes and is perfect for cloakrooms, ensuites or the main bathroom, and adds a sophisticated and luxury feel to any bathroom. The Palace bathroom basin’s contemporary looks and gently scalloped feel makes it visually appealing, and its single tap hole means that a range of mono bathroom mixer taps can be used.

There are also a range of optional extras for this basin including full and semi pedestals, and a chrome towel rail that can be added to finish off the luxury look.

Laufen Palace Bathroom Basin

For those looking to add more functionality to their bathrooms, the Laufen Palace Bidet is a great choice. Encompassing the same minimalist design ques as the rest of the range, the Palace Bidet is a great product for a contemporary or modern bathroom.

Supplied with either a single tap hole or a traditional three tap hole configuration, this bidet is fit for modern living purposes.

Laufen Palace Bathroom Bidet

Check out the rest of the Laufen Palace range here.

Useful Christmas gifts from our bathroom accessories pages

At our bathroom accessories pages we have a wonderful selection of over a thousand items which can add to a bathroom and are priced at just a few pounds for a selection of tumblers on holders to more expensive items such as bathroom TV’s.

Looking through the range of tumblers, The Bristan Twist Wall Mounted Tumbler and Holder is made from frosted toughened glass and the stylish holder is matching frosted acrylic, no more broken glass on the bathroom floor. This useful item is sold by us at an unbeatable 35% discounted price of just £16.30.

Bristan Twist Wall Mounted Tumbler and Holder

Looking for something in the range that has a slightly more retro look, then we would suggest that the Burlington Tumbler Holder would look the part in any bathroom and is complete with its own ceramic tumbler. Still at the low price of £24.65, 15% below the recommended price.

Perhaps the Silverdale Traditional Tumbler holder and Glass Tumbler with a matching Silverdale Traditional Toothbrush Holder is a gift that is just right for a special couple. The elegant glass tumbler is a convenient feature that’s often forgotten in modern bathroom decor; similarly why stick toothbrushes into a glass when you can store them neatly in the Silverdale Traditional Toothbrush Holder; a beautiful accessory both decorative and functional. These items can be sold separately or together and are offered by us at a 20% discount.

Silverdale Traditional Tumbler holder and Glass Tumbler

 Check out our accessories pages for a massive range of items that can give someone a useful and lasting gift this Christmas.

The classic Burlington English Garden range

The Victorians had a way of making the ordinary item of everyday use look something special, which is why today many people buy retro Victorian and Edwardian sanitary ware for their bathrooms. We are delighted to have added the classic Burlington English Garden range of bathroom items to our portfolio, which we are confident, will feature in many bathrooms.

Burlington English Garden range

The full range of these exciting new products can be seen in the relevant pages of the UK Bathrooms web site and includes a comprehensive selection of baths, basins, WC’s, plus many other relevant items.

Whilst the range mirrors to perfection just what Victorian and Edwardian bathroom sanitary ware would have looked like, the difference is these now use 21st century methods of manufacture and the very best of materials; Burlington is giving the best of both worlds.

Burlington English Garden Round Basin

Let us look at one or two items from the range, the Burlington English Garden Round Basin is a beautiful 650mm basin with a rounded front edge, this basin has a delightfully ornamental shape and the delightful floral decoration offer something different from the normal white finish.

Burlington English Garden High Level Traditional Toilet

The English Garden High Level Traditional Toilet will not look out of place in most homes even contemporary ones. The high level cistern is mounted on brackets which look very traditional, but are corrosion resistant and the cistern is operated by a long flush chain. Three toilet seats are on offer and include Oak, Mahogany, or white and can be supplied as a soft close option. Again the cistern and the WC bowl are decorated with a floral pattern.

The full Burlington range is offered at our unbeatable discounted prices.

Bathrooms through the ages part 3 – The Romans

Part three of our Bathrooms through the ages focuses on the Romans and their bathroom habits. The Romans were sophisticated builders and architects who built an array of underground sewers and pipework to service their public lavatories and baths; they even had a goddess of the sewers called Cloacina.

While only the wealthy had toilets in their homes, the majority of Romans used one of the many public lavatories spread throughout the land; these communal toilets had no privacy and consisted of a long stone or marble seat with holes cut into it with no partitions at all. Public lavatories had their own plumbing and sewer systems which were flushed with water from the bath houses. Toilet paper did not exist in Roman times, instead people would use a sponge on a stick called a spongia.

Bathing in Raman times was also a communal activity. It was only the extremely wealthy that could afford a bath in their home, so most people used public facilities called thermae. Most Roman cities had at least one thermae which were used for socialising as well as bathing. These buildings were supplied with water from a river or stream, or more commonly from an aqueduct. The water would be heated by a log fire and channelled to the hot bathing rooms via an intricate array of pipes.

Most public baths would include an outdoor gymnasium called a palaestra where men would engage in various activities and exercises including weight lifting, wrestling and discus throwing. Because soap was still an expensive commodity and not widely available, Roman men would cover themselves in oil, shower or bathe and remove the excess oil with a small curved metal tool called a strigil.

Cosmetics were first used in Ancient Roman times for ritual purposes, but soon became a part of daily lives for women. Fashionable cosmetics were imported from as far away as China and were very expensive and only affordable by the wealthy, this spawned an array of cheap knock-offs that were sold to poorer women.

Although poorer women could afford cosmetics they would have rarely worn them as they were time consuming to apply and would have needed constant reapplying due to the weather conditions and poor composition of the products.

Hair dying was popular among women, who would a range of natural ingredients to colour the hair. Animal fats and beechwood ashes were used to dye the hair red, whereas saffron was used to dye the hair gold.

Although frowned upon by society, men also used cosmetics. Two of the more acceptable practices for men was the use of perfume and moderate hair removal. Removing too much hair was viewed as effeminate, while removing too little was viewed as being unrefined.

Mirrors in Ancient Roman times were mainly made from polished metals such as bronze or silver, but some were made with mercury placed behind a piece of glass.

The Colosseum in Rome is considered by many to be one of the greatest feats of Roman architecture and engineering. This elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people and was used for many events including gladiatorial contests, re-enactments of famous battles and public spectacles such as animal hunts and executions.

When the Colosseum ceased to be used for entertainment during the early medieval era, it was converted into housing and workshops. It has also been used as living quarters for a religious order, a fortress and a quarry throughout its existence.

So without further ado, here is part three of our Bathrooms through the Ages comic strip:


Cifial celebrates 110 years of bathroom bliss

Cifial is celebrating 110 years of pluming and bathroom product manufacturing and since its humble beginnings in Portugal in 1904 it has grown into an internationally recognised bathroom product manufacturer.

Employing some of the best designers in the world, Cifial has always placed the emphasis on product development and creative design, and has won several prestigious awards including the Design Plus, Good Design and Red Dot.

Cifial tap

The Cifial product range includes a variety bathroom products including basin and bath mixer taps, sanitary ware, shower heads and shower fittings, all made with the highest quality materials and with their stylish design ques.

Cifial now offers a new range of special finishes to their collections to help you add the finishing touch to your bathroom. There are 9 finished to choose from including three types of chrome (polished, brushed and satin), three types of nickel (polished, brushed and satin) and three types of gold (polished, brushed and satin).

Cifial tap gold

We can supply the full range of Cifial products and are working hard to add them to our website in the near future. In the meantime if there is a specific Cifial product that you want details about or a price please phone 0845 200 8527 or use our contact form on the website.

Cifial tap nickel