Soaking in the bathtub is often credited as the place occupied when inspiration strikes. For Chrissie Berridge it was not sitting in a bath, but looking at one.
The bath in question wasn’t a plumbed-in version familiar in every modern bathroom, but its predecessor – a slipper bath in one of the bedrooms at Preston Manor in Brighton.
The oval-shaped slipper bath was a low portable tub, placed in front of a lit fire. Pitchers of water would be used to fill the tub, to pour water over its occupant, and ultimately to help empty the water once washing was done. Poorer families would have a tin bath, more wealthy ones (like the Stanford family, owners of Preston Manor in its heyday) would have a grander version with servants to heat, fetch, fill and empty the water.
At the time of visiting Preston Manor, I was writing a craft book on making items for a Victorian-style dolls’ house. Looking at real period houses provided plenty of inspiration for finding items to replicate in 1:12 scale. I thought that this bath tub would make an ideal item to include. I set about working out how to create the oval shape of the tub, and paint it to resemble the original.
I was very pleased with the result, and the finished item now sits in the main bedroom in my own Victorian-style dolls’ house. The instructions feature in my published book. This humble slipper bath remains one of my favourite miniature pieces.
Find out more about bath time in the Edwardian period.
Written by Christiane Berridge