My Mind Is In The Toilet???


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You might think I’m struggling for something to blog about today, you might even think I’m just a bit pissed off, after all who talks about the bogs of the land????? Well for me, it all started with a news item on TV last night. The University of PEI are considering installing gender neutral washrooms on Campus. I really have no opinion on the subject nor have given it much thought, but I can imagine it can be very important to some people. However, it made me think how far we have come since the 19th-20th centuries regarding the WC, (water closet) Lavatory, washroom, gents, ladies, outhouse etc. I searched the internet looking for some old outside street toilets for men in my home of Belfast. I guess not everything is available at Google after all! but I did find a few very similar. I cannot recall any similar facilities provided for women during those ancient times. I suppose the times dictated that women were too delicate to pee in public places. These street toilets were dank, dirty and very smelly, they were designed only for number one, although judging from the smells number two may well have been occasioned there too. They had little or no weather protection, and the bare minimum of privacy. One could make eye contact with people passing by on the street. I believe by the early to mid fifties these toilets had been removed from the city streets. Outside the City Hall in Belfast we had separate public Ladies and Gents toilets underground. If they had not been underground one could have said they were a step up from the previous facilities. They were indeed quite grand places if toilets were your thing. I can of course only speak of the male facility. They were large and clean with a row of sinks and mirrors plus several cubicles with large coin operated openers on the doors. They cost a penny to use, I guess that is where the term spend a penny came from. The doors themselves were quite ornate and made of heavy wood, most of the fittings were brass and gleamed in the brightly lit area. A man was employed as the toilet attendant! quite a career eh! he kept the place clean and provided clean linen hand towels if one washed his hands. I never did because in order to get a towel a tip was expected. I think most of these grand old toilets are gone now and replaced with cheap inside chrome and plastic facilities with no attendants available just a blow dyer on the wall. At home in the early fifties we only had an outside toilet in the back yard. It was an overhead flush system activated by pulling a chain. We had a wooden bench seat that my sister scrubbed weekly, it was indeed spotless. For toilet paper she cut squares of newspaper and hung them neatly on a hook inside the cublicle. As we had no bathroom (just a tin tub hung in the yard) I can only imagine I left the toilet with several headlines or maybe football results cross my arse. When I joined the Navy I learned there were no toilets aboard ship but there was a Head. A big improvement of the head was we had real toilet paper, not newspaper but also not the plush quilted paper either. Nevertheless, this was a real step up in my bodily functions, not to mention free, did not need a penny to poop anymore. And that is my story of the day, I hope this fond walk down memory lane did not make you blush, I had rather hoped you might remember those distant times with a flush with pride!!!!!! I do realize this subject could be a bit of bummer

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Belfast Social History, family, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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