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The Most British Bathroom Idiosyncrasy | Bathtime Mobility

by Bathtime Mobility on February 1, 2023 No comments

One of the most interesting aspects of bathroom design is that whilst there are many required elements that have to be in a bathroom to make it functional, including baths, sinks, accessible bath solutions, mirrors, and so many others, there is still a lot of room for creativity and differences.

Some of these differences are legally required, such as how light switches need to be at least 60cm away from the bath or shower, which means in some smaller bathrooms the switch is on the outside of the room or is replaced by a pull cord.

One of the strangest examples of this, one that has endured until very recently, is the fact that many sinks have two separate taps. Even recent single-tap arrangements with adjustable water settings only actually combine the hot and cold water supplies once the water gushes out.

It is a strange arrangement that whilst not entirely unique to Great Britain is commonly associated with it more than other countries, and whilst many people have changed to a more adjustable arrangement, the system has still endured.

The two-tap arrangement was partly a result of how the water system was set up, with two very different sources of hot and cold water, but the biggest reason relates to how homes were built (and indeed rebuilt) after the Second World War.

Many homes were fitted with boilers for the first time, and unlike the automatic combination boilers most people are used to today, they often worked by having a cold water storage tank that connected to a hot water tank that supplied heated water.

This was not an ideal arrangement, especially with early tanks being made of galvanised steel that could rust, as well as not having a lid. This meant that the water could potentially become contaminated in many different ways, and why some people say you should never drink water from the hot water tap.

For many years, building guidelines strongly recommended two taps, with the hot tap on the left and the cold water tap from the mains supply on the right. Whilst the danger is not there thanks to combi boilers, the convention has remained.


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