The old tin bathtub in Blankenheim

PHOTOS (C) Beeldtype : August, 1934 – Old houses at Blankenheim, Eiffel, Germany.

Going through the photo album I come across funny captions (see my last blog) written by my grandmother. These photos made in the 1930s are small and sometimes I need a magnifying glass to check out what is actually in the picture.

What caught my attention this time was the old photo of old houses in the German town of Blankenheim. My grandmother stated where it was and in brackets she wrote ‘Look at the bathtub’. Indeed, when you take a closer look you can see a bathtub standing upright against a wall. My first question: why is it upright? Then: why is it outside? And: What kind of bath is it anyway?

By the looks of it, it is probably a tin bath that had to be filled with hot water by hand. In those days it was not very common to bathe everyday. This bathtub was probably used once a week, since it was a lot of work to heat water and fill it. So someone had to make a fire (hot water was probably not yet readily available in this small town), heat the water (probably pumped up at a well) walk with a bucket of hot water to the tub over and over to fill up the bath. Quite a production. And I guess one had to bathe outside and if it was in that particular spot, everybody could see :-/ . This confronts me with how much I love my daily warm private shower!

On the top left corner a piece of a church tower can be seen. I think the same church is still there now.

On this picture you can see the castle of Blankenheim and its elevation from the town below. The house with the bath is in the lower left corner (compare the chimney):


Click here to look at an arial view of Blankenheim today. You can figure out where the house with the tub used to be: between the castle and the church.

For more information about this town:,_North_Rhine-Westphalia Check out the photo of where the river Ahr has its source!

Click here for more history about bathing.

Published by Françoise Vaal

My addiction to visuals started with cartoons on tv, comic books, and movies. I dreamt away while looking at my mother’s landscape photographs and imagined going there and capturing the landscapes for myself. For more than twenty years I was a picture editor for newspapers and magazines but my own photography had been limited to snapshots of faraway countries. My wish of dedicating myself to my own photography and art finally came true. My home base is The Netherlands.

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