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Roman Baths, Bath
Stall Street, Bath
associated engineer
date  circa 90 AD
era  Roman  |  category  Building  |  reference  ST749647
The Roman spa complex at Bath is constructed around Britain's only hot spring, from which the water emerges at a temperature of 120 F. It is perhaps the most well known building we have in Britain from the Roman period.
The spa complex was laid out towards the end of the first century. Its focus was the sacred spring, where the local people worshipped the native goddess Sulis, identified with Minerva by the Romans.
When you visit the building now, you enter at first floor level and look down into the Great Bath, which still has its Roman lead lining. These days open to the sky, this was once a vaulted hall, twice as high as you are now from the lower floor.
The building's first roof provided a timber ceiling for the Great Bath but some time round the second century a barrel vault of hollow box tiles was installed.
Beyond the western end of the hall is the Circular Bath and to its north is a room where the spring is contained within a reservoir. The reservoir is constructed in massive stone blocks laid on oak piles. The blocks are sheeted in lead and held in place with iron clamps. At the bottom they are sealed with waterproof mortar. It is presumed that a coffer dam must have been constructed to allow this work to be done.
Elsewhere in the building the working of the Roman heating system can be seen. A model of the complex is on show in the museum, along with digital reconstructions.
reference sources   RRB

Roman Baths, Bath