Tuesday, 27 October 2009

O is for...


Outhouse

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there weren't many houses with indoor plumbing. In fact it wasn't until the middle of last century that most homes in western Europe were fitted with indoor plumbing. Before that, they used outhouses like in the photos, chamber pots (which were often just emptied out in the streets) or holes in the ground. I think I can even remember an outhouse at my grandparents' farm, even though by the time I was born they had indoor plumbing as well.

Families living in cities weren't as lucky as people living in the country. Yes, there would still be outhouses, but they would have to be shared with all families living in the same building or even the whole street. People living in those conditions were usually the poorest of the poor and would not really have enough money for the basics. Combine that with dirty living conditions and near open sewers and you can understand people didn't live to a right old age!

Nowadays most of Europe has indoor plumbing. At least the western part of this continent does, I am not sure about the poorest areas in the east. And I must admit, when it's raining outside and there's a cold wind blowing, I am glad I don't have to step outside to use the bathroom!

For more O-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

22 comments:

  1. I so appreciate indoor plumbing.
    After living out in the African bush for those 2 weeks and having to use the "outhouse" which was a quarter of a mile away from living quarters I can say a definite YES to indoor plumbing.

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  2. They are not quite uncommon in certain rural districts and smaller cottages around here.Some say it is romantic - I say not.

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  3. I remember using these while camping! Not great in the middle of the night! lol

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  4. We always had an indoor toilet, except during the first two years we lived in The Netherlands after the war. Then we lived in a summerhouse with an outhouse, which was frozen in winter and couldn't be used.

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  5. Yes, I do appreciate indoor plumbing! But I, too, can remember when an aunt and uncle had an outhouse on their farm -- by that time they also had indoor plumbing for running water,but you still took a bath in a large tin tub in a small room and used the outhouse. You froze in the winter and held your nose in the summer! Wow! surely I can't be that old!!

    Great post!

    Sylvia

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  6. I remember using the outhouse when camping...didn't seem to bother me then but I don't want to now.

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  7. Yes, I just love an indoor toilet!

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  8. There is still a cottage that we don't use in our extended family that has no running water and an outhouse.

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  9. Yep, I'm with you when it comes to indoor plumbing. I grew up in the city and when I was first married and became a farmer's wife I was introduced to outdoor plumbing for a year or so. I appreciate my nice roomy indoor bathroom!!!

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  10. Hi!
    Awesome "O" picture. I remember my grandparents having an outhouse that we actually used, they didn't have indoor plumbing. It was a 2 holer and had lots of spiders in it. I hated going out there!! I always made my sister go with me. Have a great day.

    Sherrie

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  11. we used to use them when we'd go camping with my family years ago. I always found the experience a little intimidating, I was so little.
    Good post for this weeks "O"!

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  12. I cannot imagine life without indoor plumbing....
    I guess I am spoilt....
    I like my baths indoors too.
    Sherry

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  13. I too am thankful for indoor plumbing - warmer, fewer spiders, and available to use at any time of day or night without having to dress up in layers of clothes!!

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  14. Have aen quite a few on my travels

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  15. FUNNY YOU MENTION OUTHOUSES
    MY HUSBAND AND I OWN A PLUMBING COMPANY
    ITS A POOPEE JOB BUT SOMEONES GOTTA DO IT RIGHT? HEE HEE
    I GET TO DO THE CLEAN PART OF THE JOB-THE PAPER WORK
    WE USED TO HAVE AN OUTHOUSE AT OUR FAMILY CABIN AND I HATED GOING TO IT, IN IT AND SUCH ICK
    OUR AUNTIES HAD MY HUSBAND GO AHEAD AND PUT PLUMBING IN THE CABIN SO IT IS MUCH NICER TO GO TO NOW

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  16. Nothing to beat a nice warm bathroom. I used to stay on my Mother's cousins farm which had a dry toilet outhouse which was basically a big hole in a big dark room. Being a child with a vivid imagination this chamber of horrors was not where I wanted to be.

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  17. Big fan of indoor plumbing. I had a picture of an outhouse for my last D post (Doraville Schoolhouse).

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  18. My mother told stories of outhouses on the farm in Kansas where she grew up. She didn't find them too oppressive, but oh how hated their TP of dried corn husks!

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  19. We're familiar with those here in the southern US:) I've had indoor plumbing all my life and I'm very grateful!

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  20. I remember those and remember they weren't my favorite part of 'old times'.

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  21. I am older than you, Mara, so I definitely can remember outhouses. Fortunately, I grew up in a house with indoor plumbing, but my grandparents and my aunt didn't have it. Visiting them was...well, different:) I think indoor plumbing has to be the greatest invention of modern times!

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  22. Good post! I only recently learned that the poorest tenements in London still only had one 'outhouse' for a whole level of flats when I was a child! I did know that my grandparents had only an outside toilet, because I had to use it when I stayed there - that and the chamber pot, as you say, which was in a commode (but still smelled!).

    Good thing I wasn't scared of spiders. The outhouse at my grandparent's home was next to a large shed infested with HUGE spiders, and naturally they got into the toilet (outhouse) too. And I had two brothers and lots of male cousins ... they would have delighted in teasing me, if I'd shown any fear!

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Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!