On Thursday we took a day trip to Bath, which would consist of visiting the Museum of Costume and the Roman Baths. We once again traveled there on the coach with our guide Nigel. As usual he was informative along the way pointing out important landmarks and giving us brief facts of our passing. The landscape was breathtaking driving into the city. From a distance you could see the ancient buildings still intact lining the rolling hills.
The Museum of Costume opened in the Assembly Rooms in 1963. Its creation is due to Doris Moore, who was a designer, collector and historian. She gave her private collections to the Museum. First walking in was a large display room with multiple garments displaying woman’s’ nineteenth century dress. At the end of the room were large prints of early Vogue photographs along with the garments being worn in them. Being a fan of photography I found this quite attention grabbing. Before we went onto the next room some of us choose to try on authentically made corsets and felt really just how stiff and tight they were on the body.
Walking through the next room was a display of children’s wear from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I enjoyed taking a look at these as to see what my parents would have worn in their younger days. I was surprised by how similar the styles were to some of today’s children’s wear. One specific garment I clearly remember from that section was by far my favorite from the Museum. It was an off-white evening gown with gold embroidery designed by Givenchy in 1995. Of course it was also a treat to see the famous green Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez in 2000.
Walking on the way to the Roman Baths we passed the Bath Abbey, which sits in the heart of the city. Its architecture is beyond impressive dating back to 757, being the first built in Bath. Once in the museum built around the Roman Baths we learned a brief history of them. The baths were built around Britain’s only natural hot mineral spring and the city has been a spa town for over 2,000 years. The water rises from a depth of 10,000ft with over 220,000 gallons a day while remaining at a constant temperature of 46 degrees Celsius. The springs were dedicated to the goddess Minerva. People were said to have traveled great distances to bathe in these waters. The waters flowing here are thought to have great healing powers leading the city to become a great religious shrine and bathing spa. Pilgrims also believed that throwing coins and personal belongings into the springs meant they could communicate directly with the underworld.
Once we arrived back into London we took the Underground to Oxford Circus and went to the famous TopShop. All of us read that this was one of the best stores to visit in London with affordable prices. The store had three floors of merchandise that included men’s, maternity, and women’s with bathing suits, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. The store was mainly composed of trendy fashion items. Only a few classic style items in staple colors were seen. The merchandise was arranged so close together, that along with the sheer volume of it, it was an overwhelming experience to try and shop. There were also so many people in the store at one time, that at times is was more frustrating than fun. We did make it out though with a few good items!