If we are to believe the television advertisements, there are few greater pleasures than wallowing in a warm bath, deep enough to cover any sensitive parts, with scented candles to complete the delight.

It was different in Victorian times - particularly for the poor.

Their first problem was the bath itself.

It was small, usually oval-shaped, and made from galvanised metal.

It hung on a nail outside the kitchen door and was brought in on a Saturday night and placed in front of the fire.

Some hot water came from the coal range, with additional water coming from kettles and saucepans.

Everyone used the same bathwater.

The order was children first, then mum and dad, with grandma and the dog rounding off the operation.

The next problem was emptying the bath - usually using saucepans and throwing the water onto the garden.

The construction of mains sewers connected to the house was a great boon.

In 1915, Finchley Corporation eased the problem by providing so-called slipper baths next to the swimming pool in Squires Lane - a public-spirited and forward-looking gesture promoted by Councillor Walter Grocott.

The building housed ten baths, each in their own cubicle with lockable doors and hot and cold running water.

It was particularly popular with people such as Mr Gray, the local chimney sweep, who lived opposite and used the baths daily. The original charge was twopence and another penny to hire a towel.

By the Forties, the charge had gone up to sixpence.

Slipper baths proved a popular solution to the weekly family bathing ritual and were opened at Childs Hill and West Hendon in 1930.