|Lymehurst bathroom before investigation|
The bath is of cast iron, with a roll-top, and bottle-nose chrome-plated brass taps (with ceramic inserts labelled 'hot' and 'cold' - suggesting that hot water was provided by a boiler - possible behind the range in the 'kitchen' - and pumped to the bathroom: a hot water tank can be seen on the plan below) that, as can be seen from magazine adverts (e.g. within Good Housekeeping), continued to be sold into the 1930s.
The possibility cannot be excluded that this 1930s bath was installed at a later date. Wear to the enamel surface of the bath and to the taps (and the form of plumbing for the taps), and paint on the bath (see below) - as well as the style, demonstrates that this bath is contemporaneous with the house. However, the later hardbord flooring lies beneath the feet of the bath, the plumbing, and distance from the wall, suggests that, if not a later replacement for a long-gone original, this bath was moved at some point (perhaps in order to tile the wall, and possibly to replace earlier plumbing materials).
|Chrome-plated brass bath taps, with ceramic inserts|
|Bras bath plug and chrome-plated brass chain|
|Cast iron bath feet|
The outer surface of the bath has been painted several times - the first colour appears to be cream (perhaps to match the colour of the walls: see below), which is followed by a bright 'emerald' green, as can be seen on the underside of the roll-top in the photo below - a typical mid 20th century colour; it has been repainted cream (see below for a discussion of paints).
|Early paint beneath roll-top of the bath|
The white ceramic wash basin, made by 'Royal Venton' (manufacturers of ceramics, established in 1897 and located in the Potteries, also making decorative ceramics under the name John Steventon & Sons Ltd., now part of the Ideal Standard Group), appears to be contemporaneous with the original bathroom installation - the style is typical for the early 20th century. However, it has a British Standard number (BS 1188) stamped on the underside of the basin, which seems to indicate a late 20th century (post 1974) date. During renovation of the property in the 1990s, attempts were made by a previous owner to install fittings of contemporaneous style; it is possible that the sink was installed during this time.
|Royal Venton wash basin and pedestal|
|Wash basin makers mark|
|Stain showing original position of bathroom basin pedestal|
|Lymehurst: plan of first floor|
|Original position of bracket and pipe can be seen behind and to the left of and below the replacements|
A cast iron cistern and bowl, comparable to 1920s-1930s types (though possibly earlier), galvanised pipe, and contemporaneous seat stop, have been reinstated, as shown in the slideshow below. The cistern was made by 'Roboro' - a name noted in connection with the Rowe Brothers foundry of Handsworth, Birmingham (late 19th - early 20th century). It is an unusual 'bell syphon' type (an outline of cistern development can be found here and here), and not very efficient when water pressure is low; the pipe used here came with (was attached to) this cistern.
|Roboro cast iron toilet cistern|
|'Dauntless' cistern bracket|
A later 20th century electric heater in the bathroom is operated by brass chain with a (broken) ceramic handle - of the type used for high level toilets during the early 20th century: it's possible (but not certain) that this handle derives from the original toilet.
|Later 20th century electric bathroom heater, with brass chain and toilet pull handle|
The modern toilet bowl was replaced by a white ceramic 'Art Deco' style bowl made by 'Alerto', although the date of this fitting is currently unknown.The makers mark, however, is consistent with a 1920-30s date. Plus the basin is shaped to fit an older style seat - the example used for the reconstruction (see below) fits perfectly.
|Toilet bowl and makers mark|
|Toilet seat: underside (above), and fitted (below)|
'Scars' on the wall again show the position and size of an early toilet roll holder. A late 19th - early 20th century toilet roll holder (wood plate with bronze holder) - much replicated today, though the patina of this fitting, its bronze material, and the deal plaque, suggests that it is an original - has now been fitted.
|'No. 1 Bronze Toilet Fixture' toilet roll holder|
The end result of the toilet renovation:
In painting the bathroom, attempts have been made to replicate original and early colours. However, this process is not without problems. As pigments often change over time, frequently darkening, only an approximate guide may be obtained without microscopic and chemical analysis (some very interesting articles on this topic here). It is also important to remember that paints continued to be hand-mixed by many into the 1930s (resulting in variations; interesting descriptions of Edwardian paint mixing and colours can be found within Robert Tressel's novel 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'); however, attempts at standardisation can be seen in the development of British Standards (BS 381C: 1931); early colour charts have been used during this reconstruction project to get close to the original colours.
|Bathroom, partially renovated to replicate early decor|
The wooden doors (to the stairs and to the airing cupboard) had been stripped (seemingly in situ) of their paint before reconstruction began, but enough early paint remained (within hard-to-reach crevices to determine the approximate colours of the finish; the original handles on the main door handle and escutcheon (ebony stained deal), and airing cupboard door handle (porcelain and brass), remain in situ.
|Airing cupboard door handle|
|Wood stain marks on floorboards|
As noted above, removal of the later 20th century flooring revealed the deal boards beneath. The presence of paint (emerald green) and wood stain (the same dark colour used on the bathroom threshold) suggests that (at least at particular points in time) the boards were covered in some way (probably by lino). Comparisons with contemporaneous properties (such as 'Mr Straw's House'), and with illustrations (particularly from catalogues relating to interior decoration) demonstrate that this was usual for the period.
|Behind the bath, with original wall colour, and early plumbing, seen in the middle of the photo (darkened by the shadows)|
As can be seen, the task of removing the tiles from the southern wall (to the right of the above photo) remains, which will be quite an arduous task, and therefore probably not completed before autumn; it is also hoped that lino can be found to replace the mid-late 20th century lino tiles that currently cover the floor...