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Roman Water Supply and Drainage
associated engineer
date  circa 100 AD
UK era  Roman  |  category  Water Supply/Pipes  |  reference  ST752648
ICE reference number  HEW 1019
Remains of the Roman water engineering system built in the first century AD to supply and drain the hot baths. The covered culvert carrying overflow to the River Avon remains in use today.
Ancient engineers altered and extended this supply system over two centuries. The works were rediscovered in 1878.
The supply to the Great Bath was effected by impounding the hot springs within 8ft high ashlar masonry walls to form an eight-sided, lead-lined reservoir holding 1600sq ft of water. Holes in the walls allowed water from the source to escape during construction and were subsequently plugged with oak.
A lead pipe, 20in wide and 5in deep, ran from the reservoir to the Great Bath, which itself acted as a supply for the two smaller baths.
Surplus water and overflow from the system was drained back into the River Avon. A covered channel, high enough for a man to walk through, was built to link the baths and the river, some 400yds away. The arched, masonry cover of this culvert is 3ft in span; the trough is timber-lined. Manholes punctuate the structure, to allow for cleaning and repair.
Some surrounding pipework also survives, as well as many of the recesses which once held piping.
reference sources   LG/SJ

Roman Water Supply and Drainage