I love the Victorian nature of much of Aberdeen, as you’ll know if you click on the tab “Aberdeen architecture” on this blog. Our own “double upper” flat was built in 1884, and we love the character it has. But there’s one aspect of life back then I wouldn’t have enjoyed. Here is a sight not far from our house.
Do you see?
I do appreciate the hand-painted sign. Would you vintage experts say it dates from the 1940s or 50s? (I’m pretty sure that it isn’t actually used any longer as a toilet.)
Our own garden sheds were once toilets, as there weren’t indoor toilets when our flat was constructed. And the amazing thing is how long people continued to live without indoor plumbing. In 1990, when we lived in Illinois, Michael and I spent a delightful summer hosting a child from Belfast, as part of a programme called the Irish Children’s Fund. The aim of the programme was to give Protestant and Catholic children from Northern Ireland an experience that might give them a new perspective on life, and in particular on the deep sectarian divides in that country. (Happily, the organisation felt it had fulfilled its mission and was dissolved in 2011.) Our host child benefited from two weeks of holiday, and from meeting children of – in their own words – “the opposite religion”. But the best thing about coming to stay with us? We had an indoor toilet! In 1990, our child’s family lived in housing with only an outdoor toilet.
As they say in Aberdeen, “shockin’, is it?!”