“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Strand’s ‘Roman’ Bath

Most people who have walked along the Strand in London will instantly recognise the familiar frontage of the disused Aldwych tube station. Regular visitors to the Strand may also know that Aldwych tube station has a second entrance, just around the corner on Surrey Street. What most people will not know however, is that just behind Aldwych station lies the Strand’s “Roman” Bath.

Leaving the Strand and walking south along Surrey Street (past the entrance to Aldwych Station) the observant wanderer will eventually come across an archway and a small set of steps which lead down off of Surrey Street into Strand Lane. It is in Strand Lane that the “Roman” Bath can be found. The bath is built beneath number 5 Strand Lane and can be seen through the glass frontage which looks into the basement (there is a light switch on the wall that allows the inside to be illuminated).

Even though the bath is advertised as being Roman, it seems that it is more likely to be Tudor instead. Whether the bath is Roman or not, the idea that the bath is Roman has been around for a while. Charles Dickens for one made reference to the Strand’s Roman Bath in David Copperfield (the novel of 1850).

Aldwych Station entrance on Surrey Street.

Sign on Surrey Street showing the alley leading to Strand Lane.

Down the steps to Strand Lane.

The bath can be seen through the windows in this enclosure.

Sign providing background info.

Peering through the window.

 Peering through the window.
Pictures, London (May 2012).

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