|The Chamber Pot Photo by James Birket /|
When I was a kid we lived in a house where the inside toilet was a small pot under the bed, the famous Chamber Pot. This required a lot of skill when used in the darkness of night, especially in the blackouts during the war. Actually I think use of the pot needed more luck than skill!
Then there was the disposal the morning after, the ultimate chore, needing a steady hand and an insensitive nose.
We did have an outside toilet, it had a wooden seat, paper made from the Radio Times and a long chain for the flush. It didn’t need an exhaust fan, the gap over and under the door sufficed. No sink though, I don’t think I washed my hands till I was 12!
|The domes building is an Outside Urinal in Preston|
photo by Preston Digital archives
Again no hand washing facility.
|In the centre of Preston |
Photo be Tony Worrall
It is from these cubicles that the term “Spend a Penny” came from because you had to push a penny into a slot to unlock the door, nothing for free in those days.
I have heard many a genteel lady arise from her comfy sofa saying “Excuse me, I must spend a penny”, much more dignified than “I need the Loo! Or WC or Bog.
Nowadays things have improved for the better, no fumbling for the pot under the bed, now we can breeze into the on-suite and after wash our hands in warm water and soft soap.
There are very few public toilets nowadays, but we do have the wonderful Porta Potties, which I’m pleased to see are now offering hand washing facilities, and , in an emergency, one can always nip into a Fast food stop!
I’ll talk about bathing another time!