This morning my other half and I were sitting chatting about when we were young and talk turned to how often we bathed. Now in his case he and his folks lived in a three hundred year old stone cottage in the Midlands of the UK. It had no electricity or running water so bathing was quite a problem. There was a soft water butt near the house from which water could be obtained and/or a well way down the yard. To have a bath, first the tin bath had to be put in the kitchen:
Then water was collected in a couple of buckets and put in kettles on the wood fire to boil. This was then tipped into the bath and some cold water added but as you can imagine in a cold climate hot water in a tin bath wouldn't stay hot for too long so a minimum of cold water was needed. With 3 adults in the house would you be bathing every day or making do with a wash down? How often would you have a bath of perhaps find a quick strip down wash would suffice? Things were different then and yet everyone was clean. After his two years in the British Army in Germany MOH used some of the money he'd saved and had electricity installed in the cottage. He bought a wireless on hire purchase as before that they'd only had a crystal set. A while later he also had scheme water brought up to the house but I don't think it was into the house itself.
I have no recollection of bathing facilities in the farmhouse where I lived till I was nearly 6 and even after we moved to Perth and were living in share accommodation my memory is sketchy although I do remember having baths. When I was 12 we were renting a really nice house with a spacious bathroom which had a bath with a chip heater where you heated the water that ran into the bath and as long as there was fuel in the chip heater you would have hot water. My very clever half-brother Len came over one day and added a shower that also ran through the chip heater so were were able to have showers, albeit quick ones before the water ran cold. I think that is the first time I had ever had a shower, when I was 12 although, come to think of it, I think there were showers in the guest house we stayed each year in Mandurah. They'd have had to have showers as it would have taken too long for the guests to each have a bath (just thinking aloud about that).
Baths usually had 'feet' back then and could be quite fancy. These days of course they are built in or, like us, no bath but a shower recess with glass walls and glass door.
I do remember that back in the 1950s it was possible to buy a shower head that had an element in it which heated the water as it flowed through but can't remember how we regulated the heat. Prior to that (when I was married to my first husband) I had to fill the copper (remember them?), light the fire underneath and ladle the water over to the bath. It was quicker to bath my little ones in the large kitchen sink and much warmer too as we had a wood fire in the kitchen.
I also remember life prior to washing machines when we had to light the copper and pop sheets, towels etc in and bring them to the boil. We then had to use a copper stick to get them out of the copper into the nearest laundry trough and then run the things through a wringer attached to the centre piece of the troughs into the second trough to rinse out the soap. Then it was through the wringer again before hanging the washing out on the line.