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A pub with a basement containing well preserved Roman bathing rooms

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Plunge Pool Room
Sauna Room
Roman Artifacts
Pub Above!
The Roman Bath pub has been a York favourite for at least 300 years. But for most of that time, it had a different name. When an ex-postal worker called George Pencock became the landlord in 1823, he christened it as the Mail Coach - and for at least a century, it became a popular stop for almost every coach that passed by.

Roman Bath Sign
This all changed in the 1930s, when the owners decided they could do with a bit more space in their cellar. They began digging, and to their enormous surprise, they stumbled across the remains of a Roman bathhouse. The discovery was excavated properly, and it soon turned out that there were several entire rooms, all incredibly well-preserved.

The front of the Roman Bath pub
The main focus of the house was its large sauna - known in Latin as a Caldarium. The floor of this room was raised on several little columns, to the height of around four feet. This meant that when the furnaces were lit, there was space beneath the bath for the hot gases to flow - which then heated the room. These gases then travelled through small gaps in the walls, up to the chimneys in the roof of the building. The Caldarium was therefore heated from both the floor and the walls, making the room very warm and comfortable indeed. Actually, the room became so hot that the Roman bathers had to remember not to touch any part of it with their skin. They all wore sandals, and tried to remember not to lean on the walls. If they forgot, then their relaxing trip to the baths probably wouldn't turn out to be so relaxing!
Of course, even if the Romans remembered the safety rules, they would still have been sweating pretty heavily - the Caldarium regularly reached temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. So to cool off, bathers would head for the cold plunge pool.
Today, visitors can see both of these rooms, along with many other Roman artifacts. Displays include clothing, tiling, and replicas of armour, weapons, and footwear. Everything is in fantastic condition - you can even see marks in the tiles, left by the sandals of centurions! Entry is via the pub upstairs - which is still there, although it isn't called the Mail Coach any more. To honour this historical discovery, it changed its name to the Roman Bath.
Visitor Information
The Roman Bath museum is open daily 10am to 7pm. Entry costs around £3. Tel: 01904 620455

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