15 APRIL 1938, Page 30


CENTURIES By P. Rowland James

While much has been written about eighteenth-century Bath, Mr. James's little book (Arrowsmith, is.) deals only with the century following the Reformation. It is based on a careful study of the records and gives much interesting detail about the development of the baths by the Corporation after 1555, when a would-be private monopolist was evicted. The Abbey had owned the baths in the middle ages and gave free access to the many visitors who used them ; but the monks were too poor to keep them in proper order, still less to improve them. Municipal enterprise changed all that and soon made Bath as fashionable a resort as it had been in Roman- times, as Mr. James's list of eminent visitors" shows. Queen Eliiabeth did not use the baths but Anne of Denmark repeatedly tried the cure, and Cecil and Walsingham were among the earliest of the many statesmen who sought relief at- Bath. The corporation

at first had much trouble with indecorous bathers, and mixed bathing persisted long after- the opening of the Queen's bath for women in 1576. The book is aptly illustrated from early plans and drawings.