The Victorian era has an enduring appeal, with its own style, fashions, and values that have maintained a place in the heart of the great British public.

It was an era of innovation that changed the course of history for the generations that came after it. Over 60 years, the telephone was invented, the London underground opened, and the Football League was founded. 

Many aspire to recreate this style and rapid modernisation that characterised the Victorian period and helped shape life as we know it today. 

The bathroom is one area of the home that epitomizes these things, and in particular, the freestanding Victorian bath. Bathing became popular in the 19th century, particularly for the aristocracy as more baths were added to homes. 

What do Victorian baths look like? 

The Victorian look has surged in popularity in recent years, particularly regarding bathrooms, and it’s easy to see why. 

Victorian baths are usually freestanding and often found in the middle of the room where they act as the grandiose centerpiece of the bathroom. It’s here that the well-off would clean themselves and relax after a long day.

When you think of a traditional Victorian bath, the first thing that comes to mind is a classic roll-top with an elegant shape that contrasts beautifully with the splash of metallic in the form of ornate taps and claw feet.

For many people, using a Victorian bathtub is like going back in time. The feeling of being lord or lady of the manor is one of the reasons this style of bath is still so popular.

Burlington Bateau Double Ended Victorian bath

What were Victorian baths made of? 

For many years baths were made of cast iron, tin, or copper, which was sometimes painted. During the latter part of the 19th century, porcelain and enamel coating grew in popularity, which came to be seen as a luxury item reserved for those who could afford it. 

What were bathrooms like in the 1880s?

Traditional freestanding Victorian baths were the bathroom’s focal point in the 1880s. A slipper bath with one raised end allowed the Victorians to have a relaxing soak at the end of a long and tiring day. And if you were lucky enough to have someone to share it with, these baths were often double-ended with the taps positioned centrally, so no one had to plump for the tap end.

You can read more about Victorian bathtubs in our guide to slipper baths.

Fans of the Art Deco style, which evolved from the Victorian era, have taken the vintage bathroom to heart and added to it with a continental flair that has resulted in patterned tiled flooring and eye-catching mirrors.

Our three favourite Victorian bathtubs 

We sell a lot of Victorian bathtubs at Old Fashioned Bathrooms, but we’ve managed to narrow down our favourites to these three.  

1. Burlington Blenheim single-ended bath 

Burlington Blenheim Single Ended Victorian bathtub

This freestanding roll-top bath from Burlington would look at home in a period-style bathroom suite. Its classic ornate feet are typically Victorian, and they come in black or chrome to contrast with the clean, crisp white of the tub. 

We like this bath because its exterior can be painted using acrylic-based primers and paints, making it incredibly versatile. 

2. Victoria and Albert Roxburgh slipper bath 

Victoria + Albert Roxburgh Large slipper bath

The lion’s paw feet on this traditional slipper bath make it stand out from the crowd, and in fact, it’s the only Victoria and Albert bath that comes with this style of feet. 

Most Victorian roll top baths, like this one, are designed to be used with either wall-mounted or free-standing taps. Made from volcanic limestone with a white gloss finish, it’s incredibly durable and will remain looking new for years to come.  

3. Cast iron Orford raised double-ended bath 

Cast Iron Orford Raised Double Ended Bath

This cast iron bathtub is a modern twist on a traditional freestanding bath. It comes in over 400 colours, but it’s at its best when the colour of the tub contrasts with its white feet. It’s also possible to have the feet and bath painted in the same colour for a seamless finish.

Like most double-ended Victorian bathtubs, its taps need to be wall-mounted or freestanding.  

The key takeaway – a history of Victorian baths

For people who like vintage interior design, there are many areas of the home on which to focus. But in terms of practicality, the bathroom offers the greatest opportunity for combining a retro look with modern conveniences. 

It’s possible to re-create the style of a Victorian powder room without getting rid of the comforts of a contemporary bathroom. We think that the Victorians would give today’s modern take on their interior decor, a firm seal of approval.  

Browse our website or visit our showroom for a wide range of luxury baths in Victorian style and other vintage bathroom items.  


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