The remains of the Billingsgate Roman bath house date from the 2nd-3rd century AD and were first discovered in 1848 during construction of the London Coal Exchange.
They remained preserved in the buildings basement, until further redevelopment at the site in the late 1960’s gave archaeologists the opportunity to further explore the ruin.
Pottery has shown that the house was erected in the late 2nd century, comprising of a north wing and east wing (with a hypocaust system – underfloor heating) around a central courtyard. At this time, the building was situated on the waterfront of the River Thames.
By the 3rd century, a bath house was added in the courtyard that contained a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and a caldarium (hot room).
The building remained in use till the 5th century, but like the rest of Londinium, was eventually left to ruin. Interestingly, An Anglo-Saxon brooch was found within collapsed roof tiles.
The site was to become the first designated protected heritage site in London, forming part of the first Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.