In my search for vaccination records, I came across a guide published by the Nottinghamshire Archives describing their Poor Law Union Records (PDF).

On the last page, under Other Sources, I see listed:

  • Bathing registers
    Southwell, 1914 – 1931

What on earth were bathing registers and why were they kept?

1 Answer 1


Searching for 'bathing registers' revealed this listing from The National Archives' catalog, describing part of RG 173 from the Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch:

173 - Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch

ID 411/B7 Bathing registers

Volumes showing dates when each inmate was bathed

A search result from the Internet Archive mentions bathing registers in summary reports about schools in Germany and Holland -- listing when the resident students bathed (see Report of the Education Committee of the London County Council submitting a report of the council's officers on bathing arrangements in schools in Germany and Holland ...).

No. 8. — Each class must keep a bathing register in which the bathing attendant notes the number of baths given to each class per week. On the last school day of every month all the bathing registers are to be submitted to the headmaster. The school doctor is also requested to inspect the bathing registers from time to time. Three times a year the headmaster must send in a report to the school authorities, shewing clearly how many pupils have reported themselves for bathing, how many have actually bathed, and how many absences have occurred, together with the reasons for the same.

  • Thanks, are you able to answer why such registers were made and archived? Surely at a large institution like Southwell Workhouse there would have been many people bathed very regularly, so what purpose could it serve to keep track of that information? As it happens I have an elderly 2x great grandfather who was at Southwell "workhouse" in the 1930s (when it became known as Greet House after the abolition of the workhouse system), but he probably wouldn't appear in these registers. If I did find him there I'm not sure how I'd enter it into my genealogy program - new fact: "bath"???!
    – Harry V.
    Jan 11, 2016 at 22:13
  • 1
    In my opinion -- the fact that there were many residents in an institution makes it more likely that someone's needs would get missed. Presumably they kept a register to make sure everyone got their turn. As for recording the event, my preference would be to enter a standard RESIdence event and cite the register as the source. The important thing is placing the person at that place and time.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 12, 2016 at 22:35
  • @vervet I added a link and quote from the report found at archive.org.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 13, 2016 at 0:41
  • 2
    Thanks. Also I just found this which may be relevant to bathing registers in English workhouses - Poor Law Institutions Order (1913): "Article 22.—The Medical Officer shall draw up a code of instructions with regard to the bathing and cleansing of the inmates of the sick wards, and lunatic wards and the infants, and shall also enter on the Record-paper such directions as he may think necessary in regard to the bathing or cleansing of any particular inmate."
    – Harry V.
    Jan 13, 2016 at 1:04

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