aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Places to Go

This one was taken in 2005 on our Venturers' Three Peaks Adventure. We stayed three days in London, one of which was spent exploring the Tower of London. Notice the clear plexiglas shield over the hole to prevent tourists from seizing an opportunity improperly.

Castle privies were built into walls and odd corners. They were called garderobes. They emptied into middens, or cesspits (or sometimes directly into rivers). Water closets (early flush toilets) were invented in the late 16th Century. Queen Elizabeth had one constructed for herself. They didn't become common until public water systems did, though.

In the meantime, most people continued to use outhouses and chamberpots. In Edinburgh, Scotland, the cry, "Gardyloo!" from an upper window meant that someone was emptying a chamberpot into the street and you should get out of the way. "Gardyloo" is supposedly from French garde l'eau ("watch out for the water"), and may be (for all I know) the source of the British euphemism for toilet, "the loo."

Garderobe in the White Tower Garderobe in the White Tower


  • Point of view in LOTR

    One of the achievements of The Lord of the Rings is its complicated narrative architecture. Stories are interlaced and we follow, now this sub-plot,…

  • Arthur contra mundum

    The consensus opinion among Tolkien critics -- including those who greatly admire his work -- is that The Lord of the Rings is slow to get going,…

  • Not all ancient institutions are good

    The institutions of the Roman Republic have cast a long shadow over western government. Even our Founders paid close attention to the Roman model,…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.