Saturday, January 09, 2021

Time For A Tin Bath


Sepia Saturday was established over eleven years ago, during the golden age of blogging, as a weekly exchange of blog posts based on, and around, old photographs. During the Great Days of Blogging it would attract up to one hundred contributions each week, but now it is the home of a small band of regular posters, who still enjoy the opportunity to share old images. Whilst our fascination for old photographs has not waned - look at the popularity of photo-sharing groups on platforms such as Facebook - our willingness to spend that little longer creating and responding in this cut-and-past era, may have. I recently asked the few remaining Sepia diehards whether it was time to roll up the shutters and consign our sepia contributions to the digital equivalent of an old tea chest; but I am pleased to say that they all thought that we should carry on. And so we do. 

This week the Sepia theme image celebrates the letter T and an old tram has been chosen as a theme image. Nevertheless, I am giving the tram a miss, and rather spotlighting two other t's : time and a tin bath. The photograph of a child being washed in a tin bath in front of an old kitchen range seems to belong to another era: but is part of my own contemporary history. The woman is my mother, Gladys, and the child is my brother Roger, and the photograph must have been taken in either 1943 or 1944. In some ways the image - and the way of life it represents - seems ancient; and yet it spans less than one generation. That small child in the tin bath, will be looking at this photograph later today from the warm seclusion of his Caribbean island home. That's a long way to travel in a tin bath.



  1. I think of you sitting at your computer, where I'm five hours behind your clock, Alan. And I'm aware that I washed my first born in a dish pan, probably a plastic one, in the sink. I feel for your mother's knees as she washed your brother in that pan on the floor. And then it would be too heavy to empty easily except by a bucket at a time. Wonderful candid photo of your brother and mother!

  2. I remember the bath and also remember sitting in my high chair watching Albert and Gladys having their tea. Tea in those days being the main meal of the day. They were sat on two wooden stools that they had bought on the day they were married. Those stools have twice sailed the Atlantic and are still being sat upon here in Dominica.

    Incidentally, your envisioned "warm" Caribbean is not as warm as usual. Recently we've had night time temperatures down to the low 70's.

  3. My mother had a white and red enamel dish pan that she bathed me in.

  4. Anonymous7:50 PM

    I was bathed in a white enamel pan set on the kitchen table. I don't think there are any photos, though. I love this one of you and your mother. Thank you for leading us onward!

  5. I was simply bathed in our undivided white porcelain kitchen sink! Not sure where my brother and sisters were bathed as babies? Many years later, the kitchen sink was where I set my parakeet, "Tweety"s cage so he could take a shower. He loved the stream of water coming out of the faucet. He'd run through it and fluff his wings, or try to grab hold of the stream with his foot. Fun to watch. :)

  6. Some of the loveliest photos are of mums bathing their bubs. I couldn't wait to take one of my daughter with her new baby recently. Now we bathe them in plastic baths from Ikea - just about the only item you don't have to assemble from Ikea I might add. I dreamt of going to the Caribbean at 40, then 50. I suspect I will be staying home for my 60th at this rate.


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...