Hygiene in Keats's Day

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby BrokenLyre » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:32 pm

Now we're talking.... ha ha ha :)
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:29 pm

Malia wrote:Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the oral hygiene issue :)

I don't believe anyone wore underwear in the early 19th c. (not regularly, anyway). Bloomers--the first real underwear for women--did not come into play until later in the century when hoop skirts came into vogue. Women mostly only wore shifts and corsets--no panties back then. I assume men didn't wear briefs, either ;)


I found out the men had pyjamas anyway! Women had bloomers in the Regency due to the flimsy dresses...
So our poet might have had no underpants eh... :oops:
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Malia » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:52 pm

That's interesting--as I understood women in Regency times just used several petticoats to "build up" their thin muslin dresses. (A part of me is thankful that they had panties of some kind--imagine going commando every day!) However, the Regency was known for some daring styles among women. Many used to slick down their dresses with water to create a more "naked" effect. Even Jane Austen, in one of her letters, jokes that one of the ladies she'd recently met at a party was "both exquisitely and nakedly dressed". How in the world did Keats handle himself around such fashions? Hmm. . .perhaps "handle himself" is the wrong choice of words here . . . :lol: :oops:
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby BrokenLyre » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:51 pm

:lol: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha This has to be one of the funniest threads I have seen :lol:
I gotta read more Jane Austen...
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:21 pm

Malia wrote:That's interesting--as I understood women in Regency times just used several petticoats to "build up" their thin muslin dresses. (A part of me is thankful that they had panties of some kind--imagine going commando every day!) However, the Regency was known for some daring styles among women. Many used to slick down their dresses with water to create a more "naked" effect. Even Jane Austen, in one of her letters, jokes that one of the ladies she'd recently met at a party was "both exquisitely and nakedly dressed". How in the world did Keats handle himself around such fashions? Hmm. . .perhaps "handle himself" is the wrong choice of words here . . . :lol: :oops:


Maybe Fanny's dresses were daring eh? :D
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Montmorenci » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:06 am

In regards to Keats hygiene I read in a letter he wrote to Jane Reynold's on September 14, 1817, "I hope you bathe too- if you do not I earnestly recommend it. Bathe thrice a week..." I thought it was cute that he was concerned about someone else's hygiene as much as his own.
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Malia » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:19 am

I always thought, when Keats mentioned "bathing" he meant swimming! :lol: Did they call cleaning oneself "bathing" back then?
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:03 am

Yes, I believe so Malia. I believe they called washing their bodies "bathing"... Interesting that Socrates used to take "air baths" lying naked in a tub to air out his body.

Keats was a trained apothecary - so it makes sense that he had concern for people's hygiene (to some extent), doesn't it?
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:23 pm

Montmorenci wrote:In regards to Keats hygiene I read in a letter he wrote to Jane Reynold's on September 14, 1817, "I hope you bathe too- if you do not I earnestly recommend it. Bathe thrice a week..." I thought it was cute that he was concerned about someone else's hygiene as much as his own.


I knew he was a clean boy... :wink:
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:25 pm

Malia wrote:I always thought, when Keats mentioned "bathing" he meant swimming! :lol: Did they call cleaning oneself "bathing" back then?


I think he mostly meant bathing in a river/pond. But the important question is: did he bathe in ponds and rivers naked? :D


Washing meant using a bowl of water and soaping oneself down and rinsing the soap off with a big jug. They had little tin baths that they filled and bathed in front of the fire. This is what people did until they had bathrooms in houses. Even as late as the 1960s people were having tin baths in front of the fire- Ringo Starr had no bathroom in his house.
Last edited by Raphael on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:26 pm

BrokenLyre wrote: Keats was a trained apothecary - so it makes sense that he had concern for people's hygiene (to some extent), doesn't it?


It does!
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Malia » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:37 pm

Raphael, I'm pretty sure that Keats and all men of that era bathed (i.e. swam) naked. Bathing suits weren't in fashion until *much* later.

I believe that most (if not all) bathers swam naked--hence the need for "bathing machines" at beaches. They were a sort of horse and covered carriage that were driven out into the water deep enough so that women could open the carriage door and descend into the water (and out again) without anyone seeing their nakedness.

I don't know if people always went in the nude, however, as I suspect those bathing at the mineral springs at Bath might have worn clothes, as they were in close proximity to one another and it would have been difficult to hide. That is, unless women bathed with women in the springs and men with men. Then, maybe it wouldn't have been such a big deal . . .but I will stop my ramblings here as I have no idea about the facts of these things! :lol:
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:58 pm

Raphael, I'm pretty sure that Keats and all men of that era bathed (i.e. swam) naked. Bathing suits weren't in fashion until *much* later.


sssh..that's what I have been visualising ... :wink: rather nice too... :lol:
Tho I suppose he had to make sure no ladies were around!

I believe that most (if not all) bathers swam naked--hence the need for "bathing machines" at beaches. They were a sort of horse and covered carriage that were driven out into the water deep enough so that women could open the carriage door and descend into the water (and out again) without anyone seeing their nakedness.


I thought those werre for changing into bathing costumes- well they certainly were in the Victorian- Edwardian eras. I've seen those bathing costumes in museums- girls on a night out these days wear less!

I don't know if people always went in the nude, however, as I suspect those bathing at the mineral springs at Bath might have worn clothes, as they were in close proximity to one another and it would have been difficult to hide.


I think they might have had some kind of robes.

That is, unless women bathed with women in the springs and men with men. Then, maybe it wouldn't have been such a big deal . . .but I will stop my ramblings here as I have no idea about the facts of these things! :lol:


Whatever they wore/didn't wear no way were men and women mixed- they were always seperate- I know that.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Raphael » Sat May 29, 2010 2:36 am

Here's a video on you tube about early British toilets- you can see one from 1804.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23JzUoU4 ... re=related
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Hygiene in Keats's Day

Postby Ennis » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:47 pm

This is a funny thread. Made me -- no, wait a sec! -- FORCED me to envision our Keats in a totally different, ummm, "light." It is rather awkward to imagine God naked. . .
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