"There was always the public bathhouse down at the foot of the street by the river."

Whereas public baths of the Middle Ages had been subject to great suspicion -- plague, syphilis and prostitution amongst their many reported perils -- the arrival of canvas changing rooms on the banks of the Parisian rivers in 1688 hailed the beginning of a long-standing craze for swimming baths. In fact, by 1850 the Gymnase Nautique des Champs Élysées had developed an early synthesised version of the modern-day aqua and amusement park. However, it wasn't until the late 19th-early 20th century, with an increased attention to personal cleanliness, that bathhouses truly became available to the European public at large. Initially admitting just men or only allowing segregated washing, family bathing was not truly permitted in Britain until 1914.