The name comes from a spring that overflowed and formed a pond – Perilous Pond – so-called, says London historian John Stow, because “divers youths, by swimming therein, have drowned”. The pond, with its unfortunate propensity for drowning people, was finally closed off.
In 1743, William Kemp, a jeweller, converted the pond to a luxury swimming bath with a well-stocked fish pond next to it. In the winter the pond was used for ice skating. Both were available to visit at the price of one guinea per annum or two shillings per visit; Kemp wisely changed the name from Perilous Pond to to Peerless Pool.
The path alongside the bath was called Peerless Row and later became Peerless Street. The pool was closed in 1850 and then built over.
In addition to Read in the Bathtub Day, February 9 is also celebrated (or otherwise noted) in the US as National Bagel Day and National Toothache Day. Entertainingly, some people point to the founding of the Hershey Corporation on 9 February 1894 as being a possibility for the reason behind Toothache Day. More likely is is because 9 February is St Apollonia’s Day; she was a virgin martyr whose torture included having her teeth either broken or pulled out. She is regarded as the patron saint of dentistry and those suffering from toothache.
About Me (and my Obsession)
My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
- London’s lost rivers: Hanging Sword Alley, Crane Court, and Wine Office Court
- Fox and Knot: murder and pub signs in London street names
- Poultry and Hen and Chickens Court – names for National Poultry Day
- Greenberry Street and Red Lion Square: street names for St Patrick’s Day and Red Nose Day
- Bleeding Heart Yard: revisiting (and debunking) old favourites
One response to “Read in the Bathtub Day (but at your peril)”
Reblogged this on History of Britain and commented: