Taking the Plunge in Greenwich Park

The remains of the house of Queen Caroline lie in the south-west corner of Greenwich Park. Easily missed, they require a degree of imagination to reconstruct what this area adjacent to what is now the wall might have looked like.
Caroline famously did not get on with her husband, George Prince of Wales who succeeded to the throne as George IV in 1820. They married in 1795 and had decided by 1796 to live apart as much as possible.
She lived in Montague House on the site from 1798 to 1813, taking over 15 acres of the park as her private garden. After she moved out to live on the Continent the house was demolished in 1814 and the garden returned to the park.
The bath was excavated in 2001. The original building was made of latticed wood and glass and lay on the side of the house, along with a greenhouse.
Bathhouses were fashionable in the eighteenth century. A regime of exercise and immersion in cold water were considered to be healthy, and bathhouses were often located in the grounds of country houses. Here the bath was next to, but separate from the house, allowing Caroline to walk through her large garden and then take the plunge.
It was not just Caroline who enjoyed the bathhouse. She was said to have had many large and  raucous parties in this corner of south-east London.
Prince George saw an opportunity to try to obtain a divorce and a royal commission was held to investigate whether she had committed adultery. There were allegations of an illegitimate child, fathered by a footman. The commission cleared her of the main charge and thus ended George’s hopes, but concluded that her behaviour was open to “unfavourable interpretations”.
Find out more about Greenwich . Book tickets for Ian McDiarmid’s Greenwich London Walk now. Private tour also available here.

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