A Perilous Period for Personal Safety Part 3/3
Hygiene and personal care: surprising Information on Medieval Period
The widely-held belief that cleanliness and hygiene was of no concern to medieval people is not quite true.
Though unsanitary living conditions contributing to disease often originated from lack of plumbing which meant human waste was discarded outside, not too far from one’s home and waste deposited in open street sewers was removed and often dumped into the nearest river (if it was removed at all), personal hygiene was not entirely neglected.
The Roman practice of communal bathing continued into the Medieval Period, along with personal hygiene practices such as cleaning one’s hands and face.
Despite bathing not being as frequently practiced as it is today, Vikings did bathe once a week and most German villages and towns featured communal baths frequented by craftsmen. By the 13th century Paris was home to over 32 bathhouses and Southwark, London was equipped with 18 hot baths!
Fire Safety Information on Medieval Period
Did you know the origins of our modern building codes can be traced back to the Medieval Period?
After the extinguishing of the 2nd Great Fire of London (aka the Great Fire of Suthwark), Mayor Henry Fitz-Ailwin banned thatched roofs. Yet, as timber framing remained popular in construction and city populations grew, housing storeys continued to pile upwards. By the end of the period timber houses overhung tight streets, leading to the 1666 Great Fire of London, an inferno which ravaged 80% of the city 3 decades after the Suthwark blaze. The tragedy prompted the instigation of the London Building Act of 1667 which prescribed using stone in housing construction as a fire-safety precaution in an attempt to curb the chance of another devastating blaze scourging the city.
These new medieval building regulations produced a raft of laws, such as distinguishing between commercial, industrial and residential zones, which to this day remain inherent to our cities.
How Times have Changed…
Fast forward to the 21st Century and safety is a key watch-word of our times. The Abbey Medieval Festival 2017 brings all the rollicking action and mayhem of the Middle Ages to the modern era with great authenticity, save for one aspect – the lack of safety.
Today, care of public and personal safety is considered enormously important in all aspects of daily living.
Luckily for us modern day festival-goers, ERMS Group have been taking care of our safety on the Abbey site since 2005. Event operations are their forte, so you and your family can enjoy peace of mind when immersing yourselves into the medieval spirit and festival excitement of this unique event.
Want to read more?
Click the links below to read parts 1 and 2 on safety in medieval times and see how well we are taken care of at the Abbey Medieval Festival.