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Tinplate bath, Europe, 1801-1900

During the 1800s, personal hygiene and cleanliness were increasingly considered one way to improve health and prevent the spread of disease. However, very few people had a piped domestic water supply. At best, many people would rely on a bath such as this one, perhaps set up in front of the fire and filled with buckets of water heated from the stove. It was quite common for a whole family to use the bath one after another – with the water getting progressively dirtier and colder.

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Glossary: hygiene

The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

Glossary: bath

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