Hidden underneath a mundane office block can be found one of London’s largest Roman remains, and it’s open for tours for two days later this month.
The Bath House and associated townhouse would have been by the riverside – as it was in those times – and the layout is unusual with the bathhouse in the centre courtyard with the main building around it. It was possibly an inn or praetorium for traders and visitors to Londinium.
The Billingsgate Roman bathhouse was re-discovered in 1848, during the construction of the Coal Exchange, but not excavated properly until 1968-9, when the road was widened and the current office block built on the site.
Since then it’s sat in the basement of the office block rarely seen until a few years ago when semi-regular tours started. The tours stopped when you know what happened, but they are going to have two open days this year.
Tours are available on Saturday 21st and 28th August and cost £11.25 per person.
Book tickets here.
Entry is through a small door on Lower Thames Street close to the Tower of London, and then down some stairs to the basement. You will be able to walk around the bathhouse remains, see where the fire that heated the water for the bathhouse would have been and how the hypocaust worked.
Regrettably, it’s stairs only and there’s no accessible access to the site.