Scotlands History

Bearsden Roman bath-house

The Romans valued good health – every fort had its own bath-house and latrine, for use by all the soldiers. The larger forts had their own hospitals with doctors.

Within the bath block at Bearsden was a changing room leading to a cold room and a steam room or hot dry room. All were heated by a hypocaust system of hot air funnelled under the floor and up the walls. A dip in the cold plunge bath closed up the pores again at the end of the session.

The cold room was called the ‘frigidarium’. The hot and dry room was the ‘sudatorium’. Warm rooms were called ‘tepidaria’ and the hot room was the ‘caldarium’.

For off-duty soldiers the bath-house would also have been a place for exchanging news from the front, telling stories or just for keeping warm.

Artifacts from the Bearsden Roman Bath-house are on display at University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum. The clearly laid-out foundations of the bath-house can still be seen at Roman Road, Bearsden.

  • A photograph of a latrine of bath-house at Bearsden

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