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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Cotswold Privies

Cotswold PriviesCotswold Privies by Mollie Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw this in the Oxford Central Library and being a fan of obscure history I couldn't resist. This little book was written in 1984 when outhouses were still in use in some of the smaller English villages.

Full of fun anecdotes and humor, as well as lots of photos and a fair amount of architectural information, it will tell you far more than you ever needed to know about English toilet habits in the early 20th century. For example, some privies were "two holers" so family members could go together. Isn't that nice? You even get little ditties like this one:

In days of old
When knights were bold
And paper wasn't invented
They used blades of grass
To wipe their arse
And went away contented.

At the end of the book is a list of slang terms for privies, such as The Widdlehouse, The Long Drop, and my favorite--The Thunderbox.

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  1. I think The Long Drop is my favorite by far!! Every time I think about outhouses I think about that scene in Jai Ho...!

  2. The Thunderbox earned its name after they opened the Mexican restaurant in Burton-on -the- Water. :P

  3. Hi Sean .. we had a long drop when we visited grandparents in the Lake District ...

    Fascinating find ... and those names are great .. my father built us a 'sharing three-some privy'in the garden as a joke! It was good for laugh that summer ... there were five of us ..

    Cheers Hilary


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