A Private Function

Nicola wenchmark Nicola here, talking a little about historical concepts of privacy. The idea came to me this weekend when I was showing a group of visitors around Ashdown House. We were discussing the layout of the bedrooms and the fact that there are no inter-connecting doors between them and someone pointed out how unusual that was in a relatively grand 17th century house. As historian Lucy Worsley commented recently in a fabulous BBC TV series, If Walls Could Talk, most of our ancestors were accustomed to living far more communally than we are now. Sharing living space was the norm and privacy was a luxury.

Sleeping

Back in the Middle Ages almost everyone would eat and sleep in one room. This applied whether you were a peasant in a single-roomed cottage or part of a grand household. In the Great Hall of a manor servants would sleep on a sack stuffed full of straw – hence the phrases "hitting the sack" or "hitting the hay." Before pillows were invented they would lay their heads on a log of wood. Hardy folk. The master and mistress had a private room above the hall from where they could literally look down on their household below. This private chamber was a sign of status, privacy and status being inextricably linked. But even then you wouldn't really have the sort of privacy we take for granted now. The chamber would be shared with the rest of the family, with servants and animals (I guess the animal bit still happens quite a lot these days!) A proper bed as we know it was very expensive, carved from wood and with costly hangings. It was another sign of status, hence the fact that people often took their own bed with them when they travelled.

By the 16th century the "middling" sort of people, a yeoman farmer and his wife, Tudor cottage for example, would have their own upstairs chamber with a bed that might be the equivalent in value of a third of their worldly goods. The room would also contain a chest and a rod for the hanging of clothes. It would also contain the children and a servant or two. The bedroom was a social room up until the 18th century; it was the place where you might receive guests, hold events and you could even get married there! 

Bedroom - first floor NW A house like Ashdown, built in the 17th century, would more normally have had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms. (The picture on the left is one of the bedrooms at Ashdown). So whilst you might have your own room you would be accustomed to people tramping through it to reach their chamber. This was also the case in cottages. When were moved out of London 20 years ago I fancied living in a 17th century country cottage. I lost count of the number of houses that had one bedroom which could only be reached by walking through another one. The only privacy would be found behind your bed hangings. 

 It was in the Georgian period that the servants were finally banished from the bedroom, into the attics Servants bell or the basement or possibly even separate quarters, necessitating the invention of the bell to call them back again when you needed them! From that point the bedroom became a luxurious use of personal space. In the grand houses the idea of a vista of state apartments also fell out of fashion. By the nineteenth century the aim was very much for privacy.

Washing

The bathroom is the room of the house that has taken the longest to evolve and washing, like eating and sleeping, was for many centuries a communal activity (if it happened at all.) I was fascinated to learn from Lucy Worsley's programme that in the Middle Ages the urban population of Britain was very keen on washing. No unwashed peasants here! Every city had communal bath houses, a fashion established by the knights returning from the crusades bringing with them the idea of the steam bath. It sounds delightful; the steam was mixed with spices and herbs in the water and after the steam you would rinse yourself in rose water. London bath houses were the most sophisticated in the country. In addition to bathing they offered musical entertainment, a haircut, a shave and even a meal. But there were problems; bathing was communal and mixed and it was not long before the public bath houses gained a reputation for immorality.

Georgian Square By the end of the sixteenth century, washing oneself had fallen out of fashion as an urban habit. There was no clean fresh water in the crowded Tudor cities and medical opinion of the day believed that one could absorb sickness through the skin. Instead of washing the person, the upper classes wore white linen next to the skin to soak up the dirt and sweat. Eventually in the seventeenth century a way was found to pipe fresh water into the cities through pipes made of elm. Lead attachments took the water from these pipes into the houses. But only if you paid, of course. This system was so efficient that it was still in use in the Georgian period. This has interesting implications for books set in the London in the Georgian era. The streets and squares were crowded with not only carriages and people but up to nine water pipes above ground! You could have trouble manoeuvring your carriage past all that. And water was not available each and every day. Different streets had different  "Water Days." When it was your turn for the water you would fill up every receptacle you could find to last you until the next water day.

The water was piped into the basement where it was a servant's job – assuming you had one – to carry itGeorgian wash stand  upstairs for the family to use. Here, again in the Georgian era, we see the birth of the idea of the bathroom. A little corner of the bedroom was set aside for washing purposes with a wash stand, jug and basin. New items of furniture were introduced to fit this new fashion. There were men's shaving tables. The bidet was introduced. It was a hit in France but never caught on in England. But washing was still a communal event, even a social one. You might invite your friends around to watch you wash in the morning and it was a vast privilege to be invited to attend upon Queen Caroline, wife to George II, when she took her morning toilette. The concept of a private bathroom only really came in with the Victorians, aided by all the inventions of the industrial revolution, and of course for many people indoor plumbing only became a reality in the twentieth century. 

Victorian Public lavatories The first public lavatories in London were also established in the Middle Ages, most practically, on London Bridge. Again they were communal, a place to go for a chat! The use of these died out along with washing in the Tudor period and it was not until the Victorian era that public loos were re-introduced. They cost four pence to use but they were not popular, especially with ladies who were ashamed to be seen using them as it was considered immodest. (Until the 20th century it was not publicly acknowledged that women needed to fulfil this necessary function at all!) There are many Victorian conveniences still in use across the UK – these ones are in Oxford. Note the smart iron railings.

If  you get the chance to see Lucy Worsley's programme If Walls Could Talk or to pick up the accompanying book then it's well worth it as both are packed with fascinating detail of life in the British home down the centuries. In these days of privacy and having our own space it's sometimes difficult to imagine what communal living must have been like. How do you think you would have coped having to share your living space – or having servants about you all the time? How would you have found the privacy that sometimes we all need? And would you have fallen in with the Tudor fashion of not washing?

130 thoughts on “A Private Function”

  1. Nicola
    That was so interesting I don’t think I could not wash LOL I would feel so uncomfortable and I really need to do this in privacy.
    Another thing I really need me time peace and quiet on my own usually lol to keep me happy
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  2. Nicola
    That was so interesting I don’t think I could not wash LOL I would feel so uncomfortable and I really need to do this in privacy.
    Another thing I really need me time peace and quiet on my own usually lol to keep me happy
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  3. Nicola
    That was so interesting I don’t think I could not wash LOL I would feel so uncomfortable and I really need to do this in privacy.
    Another thing I really need me time peace and quiet on my own usually lol to keep me happy
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  4. Nicola
    That was so interesting I don’t think I could not wash LOL I would feel so uncomfortable and I really need to do this in privacy.
    Another thing I really need me time peace and quiet on my own usually lol to keep me happy
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  5. Nicola
    That was so interesting I don’t think I could not wash LOL I would feel so uncomfortable and I really need to do this in privacy.
    Another thing I really need me time peace and quiet on my own usually lol to keep me happy
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  6. I’m glad that you found it interesting, Helen. When Lucy Worsley did the programme she went for a whole week without washing and she hated how dirty she felt. I’d be the same, I think.

    Reply
  7. I’m glad that you found it interesting, Helen. When Lucy Worsley did the programme she went for a whole week without washing and she hated how dirty she felt. I’d be the same, I think.

    Reply
  8. I’m glad that you found it interesting, Helen. When Lucy Worsley did the programme she went for a whole week without washing and she hated how dirty she felt. I’d be the same, I think.

    Reply
  9. I’m glad that you found it interesting, Helen. When Lucy Worsley did the programme she went for a whole week without washing and she hated how dirty she felt. I’d be the same, I think.

    Reply
  10. I’m glad that you found it interesting, Helen. When Lucy Worsley did the programme she went for a whole week without washing and she hated how dirty she felt. I’d be the same, I think.

    Reply
  11. Amazing. Is that the London Bridge that was moved piece by piece to Arizona in the 1960’s?
    Maybe the pioneers that came to the U.S. were not that used to luxury as I previously thought. A pump for water, your own bedroom & outhouse would not be so far removed from what they left.

    Reply
  12. Amazing. Is that the London Bridge that was moved piece by piece to Arizona in the 1960’s?
    Maybe the pioneers that came to the U.S. were not that used to luxury as I previously thought. A pump for water, your own bedroom & outhouse would not be so far removed from what they left.

    Reply
  13. Amazing. Is that the London Bridge that was moved piece by piece to Arizona in the 1960’s?
    Maybe the pioneers that came to the U.S. were not that used to luxury as I previously thought. A pump for water, your own bedroom & outhouse would not be so far removed from what they left.

    Reply
  14. Amazing. Is that the London Bridge that was moved piece by piece to Arizona in the 1960’s?
    Maybe the pioneers that came to the U.S. were not that used to luxury as I previously thought. A pump for water, your own bedroom & outhouse would not be so far removed from what they left.

    Reply
  15. Amazing. Is that the London Bridge that was moved piece by piece to Arizona in the 1960’s?
    Maybe the pioneers that came to the U.S. were not that used to luxury as I previously thought. A pump for water, your own bedroom & outhouse would not be so far removed from what they left.

    Reply
  16. Nicola, I enjoyed your post, very informative! However, it does confirm my belief that I would rather read about regency times and not live in them. I like my bathroom and bedroom and hot showers!

    Reply
  17. Nicola, I enjoyed your post, very informative! However, it does confirm my belief that I would rather read about regency times and not live in them. I like my bathroom and bedroom and hot showers!

    Reply
  18. Nicola, I enjoyed your post, very informative! However, it does confirm my belief that I would rather read about regency times and not live in them. I like my bathroom and bedroom and hot showers!

    Reply
  19. Nicola, I enjoyed your post, very informative! However, it does confirm my belief that I would rather read about regency times and not live in them. I like my bathroom and bedroom and hot showers!

    Reply
  20. Nicola, I enjoyed your post, very informative! However, it does confirm my belief that I would rather read about regency times and not live in them. I like my bathroom and bedroom and hot showers!

    Reply
  21. I think that had I been born in those times, I wouldn’t have known anything about privacy to want privacy when I showered/bathed, dressed, slept, etc. But if I was transported back in time after having always had privacy it would be quite a culture shock for me!

    Reply
  22. I think that had I been born in those times, I wouldn’t have known anything about privacy to want privacy when I showered/bathed, dressed, slept, etc. But if I was transported back in time after having always had privacy it would be quite a culture shock for me!

    Reply
  23. I think that had I been born in those times, I wouldn’t have known anything about privacy to want privacy when I showered/bathed, dressed, slept, etc. But if I was transported back in time after having always had privacy it would be quite a culture shock for me!

    Reply
  24. I think that had I been born in those times, I wouldn’t have known anything about privacy to want privacy when I showered/bathed, dressed, slept, etc. But if I was transported back in time after having always had privacy it would be quite a culture shock for me!

    Reply
  25. I think that had I been born in those times, I wouldn’t have known anything about privacy to want privacy when I showered/bathed, dressed, slept, etc. But if I was transported back in time after having always had privacy it would be quite a culture shock for me!

    Reply
  26. Nancy, I’ve often thought the story of the removal of London Bridge to Arizona one of the most curious things I have ever heard. I think you’re exactly right about the pioneers – not a lot of luxury left behind in the old country!

    Reply
  27. Nancy, I’ve often thought the story of the removal of London Bridge to Arizona one of the most curious things I have ever heard. I think you’re exactly right about the pioneers – not a lot of luxury left behind in the old country!

    Reply
  28. Nancy, I’ve often thought the story of the removal of London Bridge to Arizona one of the most curious things I have ever heard. I think you’re exactly right about the pioneers – not a lot of luxury left behind in the old country!

    Reply
  29. Nancy, I’ve often thought the story of the removal of London Bridge to Arizona one of the most curious things I have ever heard. I think you’re exactly right about the pioneers – not a lot of luxury left behind in the old country!

    Reply
  30. Nancy, I’ve often thought the story of the removal of London Bridge to Arizona one of the most curious things I have ever heard. I think you’re exactly right about the pioneers – not a lot of luxury left behind in the old country!

    Reply
  31. I with you on that, Samantha! I love reading historical fiction and I would even like to time travel but not permanently.
    Wendy, it is all about what is familiar, isn’t it. I’m sure people accepted communal living as the norm but the difference that we would perceive would be shocking. It’s all about the culture; when I went to Iceland I was quite shocked by the nude spa bathing!

    Reply
  32. I with you on that, Samantha! I love reading historical fiction and I would even like to time travel but not permanently.
    Wendy, it is all about what is familiar, isn’t it. I’m sure people accepted communal living as the norm but the difference that we would perceive would be shocking. It’s all about the culture; when I went to Iceland I was quite shocked by the nude spa bathing!

    Reply
  33. I with you on that, Samantha! I love reading historical fiction and I would even like to time travel but not permanently.
    Wendy, it is all about what is familiar, isn’t it. I’m sure people accepted communal living as the norm but the difference that we would perceive would be shocking. It’s all about the culture; when I went to Iceland I was quite shocked by the nude spa bathing!

    Reply
  34. I with you on that, Samantha! I love reading historical fiction and I would even like to time travel but not permanently.
    Wendy, it is all about what is familiar, isn’t it. I’m sure people accepted communal living as the norm but the difference that we would perceive would be shocking. It’s all about the culture; when I went to Iceland I was quite shocked by the nude spa bathing!

    Reply
  35. I with you on that, Samantha! I love reading historical fiction and I would even like to time travel but not permanently.
    Wendy, it is all about what is familiar, isn’t it. I’m sure people accepted communal living as the norm but the difference that we would perceive would be shocking. It’s all about the culture; when I went to Iceland I was quite shocked by the nude spa bathing!

    Reply
  36. Living in the hot, humid south in the summer,sometimes you bathe twice a day, even with air conditioning. No bath at all…UCK! There’s not enough deodorant or perfume/cologne to cover that.

    Reply
  37. Living in the hot, humid south in the summer,sometimes you bathe twice a day, even with air conditioning. No bath at all…UCK! There’s not enough deodorant or perfume/cologne to cover that.

    Reply
  38. Living in the hot, humid south in the summer,sometimes you bathe twice a day, even with air conditioning. No bath at all…UCK! There’s not enough deodorant or perfume/cologne to cover that.

    Reply
  39. Living in the hot, humid south in the summer,sometimes you bathe twice a day, even with air conditioning. No bath at all…UCK! There’s not enough deodorant or perfume/cologne to cover that.

    Reply
  40. Living in the hot, humid south in the summer,sometimes you bathe twice a day, even with air conditioning. No bath at all…UCK! There’s not enough deodorant or perfume/cologne to cover that.

    Reply
  41. As a pre-teener I liked to visit my aunt and uncle. They had a “two-holer” out in the chicken coop. Along with a Sears catalogue to browse in. There was also a large rooster that always chased me* thru the coop.
    Fascinating times sback then.

    Reply
  42. As a pre-teener I liked to visit my aunt and uncle. They had a “two-holer” out in the chicken coop. Along with a Sears catalogue to browse in. There was also a large rooster that always chased me* thru the coop.
    Fascinating times sback then.

    Reply
  43. As a pre-teener I liked to visit my aunt and uncle. They had a “two-holer” out in the chicken coop. Along with a Sears catalogue to browse in. There was also a large rooster that always chased me* thru the coop.
    Fascinating times sback then.

    Reply
  44. As a pre-teener I liked to visit my aunt and uncle. They had a “two-holer” out in the chicken coop. Along with a Sears catalogue to browse in. There was also a large rooster that always chased me* thru the coop.
    Fascinating times sback then.

    Reply
  45. As a pre-teener I liked to visit my aunt and uncle. They had a “two-holer” out in the chicken coop. Along with a Sears catalogue to browse in. There was also a large rooster that always chased me* thru the coop.
    Fascinating times sback then.

    Reply
  46. The house I grew up in had a bedroom you had to walk through to get to two others (and a washroom) – those rooms having been added as part of an extension. The doors were on diagonal corners of the room. I think my two younger sisters soon learned to sleep through people going back and forth.

    Reply
  47. The house I grew up in had a bedroom you had to walk through to get to two others (and a washroom) – those rooms having been added as part of an extension. The doors were on diagonal corners of the room. I think my two younger sisters soon learned to sleep through people going back and forth.

    Reply
  48. The house I grew up in had a bedroom you had to walk through to get to two others (and a washroom) – those rooms having been added as part of an extension. The doors were on diagonal corners of the room. I think my two younger sisters soon learned to sleep through people going back and forth.

    Reply
  49. The house I grew up in had a bedroom you had to walk through to get to two others (and a washroom) – those rooms having been added as part of an extension. The doors were on diagonal corners of the room. I think my two younger sisters soon learned to sleep through people going back and forth.

    Reply
  50. The house I grew up in had a bedroom you had to walk through to get to two others (and a washroom) – those rooms having been added as part of an extension. The doors were on diagonal corners of the room. I think my two younger sisters soon learned to sleep through people going back and forth.

    Reply
  51. My dad was born in 1907 and washed the same way his mother and grandmother did, with a basin of water (in our case, it was the bathroom sink because we actually had running water…when the well wasn’t dry) and it was called a ‘sponge bath’. Because our well was finicky at times, I learned how to wash up the same way so those mornings that I couldn’t shower, I could still wash.
    Thankfully, we did have a septic tank so didn’t have to use any outhouse.
    And you know where the expression ‘three-dog-night’ originated. You mentioned communal times when your pets sleep with you. When it was so cold that even a roaring fire was hard pressed to keep the room warm, you had your dogs sleep with you and gauged the outside by how many dogs it took to help keep you warm, thus the three-dog-night. :o)

    Reply
  52. My dad was born in 1907 and washed the same way his mother and grandmother did, with a basin of water (in our case, it was the bathroom sink because we actually had running water…when the well wasn’t dry) and it was called a ‘sponge bath’. Because our well was finicky at times, I learned how to wash up the same way so those mornings that I couldn’t shower, I could still wash.
    Thankfully, we did have a septic tank so didn’t have to use any outhouse.
    And you know where the expression ‘three-dog-night’ originated. You mentioned communal times when your pets sleep with you. When it was so cold that even a roaring fire was hard pressed to keep the room warm, you had your dogs sleep with you and gauged the outside by how many dogs it took to help keep you warm, thus the three-dog-night. :o)

    Reply
  53. My dad was born in 1907 and washed the same way his mother and grandmother did, with a basin of water (in our case, it was the bathroom sink because we actually had running water…when the well wasn’t dry) and it was called a ‘sponge bath’. Because our well was finicky at times, I learned how to wash up the same way so those mornings that I couldn’t shower, I could still wash.
    Thankfully, we did have a septic tank so didn’t have to use any outhouse.
    And you know where the expression ‘three-dog-night’ originated. You mentioned communal times when your pets sleep with you. When it was so cold that even a roaring fire was hard pressed to keep the room warm, you had your dogs sleep with you and gauged the outside by how many dogs it took to help keep you warm, thus the three-dog-night. :o)

    Reply
  54. My dad was born in 1907 and washed the same way his mother and grandmother did, with a basin of water (in our case, it was the bathroom sink because we actually had running water…when the well wasn’t dry) and it was called a ‘sponge bath’. Because our well was finicky at times, I learned how to wash up the same way so those mornings that I couldn’t shower, I could still wash.
    Thankfully, we did have a septic tank so didn’t have to use any outhouse.
    And you know where the expression ‘three-dog-night’ originated. You mentioned communal times when your pets sleep with you. When it was so cold that even a roaring fire was hard pressed to keep the room warm, you had your dogs sleep with you and gauged the outside by how many dogs it took to help keep you warm, thus the three-dog-night. :o)

    Reply
  55. My dad was born in 1907 and washed the same way his mother and grandmother did, with a basin of water (in our case, it was the bathroom sink because we actually had running water…when the well wasn’t dry) and it was called a ‘sponge bath’. Because our well was finicky at times, I learned how to wash up the same way so those mornings that I couldn’t shower, I could still wash.
    Thankfully, we did have a septic tank so didn’t have to use any outhouse.
    And you know where the expression ‘three-dog-night’ originated. You mentioned communal times when your pets sleep with you. When it was so cold that even a roaring fire was hard pressed to keep the room warm, you had your dogs sleep with you and gauged the outside by how many dogs it took to help keep you warm, thus the three-dog-night. :o)

    Reply
  56. Wonderfully informative and fun post, Nicola! Another for the research notebook and I am off to find the book you mentioned.
    I would have difficulty adjusting to the lack of privacy, that much is certain. I live alone (save for my dogs and cats) in the middle of five acres. I LOVE having an entire house to myself with two complete bathrooms to choose from!
    Oddly enough when I was singing I never noticed how little privacy members of a traveling opera company have. We stayed in hotel rooms, slept on trains and crowded into dressing rooms to change with no thought to privacy.
    And had I been born in Tudor England I feel certain I would have found some way to bathe! I can barely wait to get home from work to take a shower!

    Reply
  57. Wonderfully informative and fun post, Nicola! Another for the research notebook and I am off to find the book you mentioned.
    I would have difficulty adjusting to the lack of privacy, that much is certain. I live alone (save for my dogs and cats) in the middle of five acres. I LOVE having an entire house to myself with two complete bathrooms to choose from!
    Oddly enough when I was singing I never noticed how little privacy members of a traveling opera company have. We stayed in hotel rooms, slept on trains and crowded into dressing rooms to change with no thought to privacy.
    And had I been born in Tudor England I feel certain I would have found some way to bathe! I can barely wait to get home from work to take a shower!

    Reply
  58. Wonderfully informative and fun post, Nicola! Another for the research notebook and I am off to find the book you mentioned.
    I would have difficulty adjusting to the lack of privacy, that much is certain. I live alone (save for my dogs and cats) in the middle of five acres. I LOVE having an entire house to myself with two complete bathrooms to choose from!
    Oddly enough when I was singing I never noticed how little privacy members of a traveling opera company have. We stayed in hotel rooms, slept on trains and crowded into dressing rooms to change with no thought to privacy.
    And had I been born in Tudor England I feel certain I would have found some way to bathe! I can barely wait to get home from work to take a shower!

    Reply
  59. Wonderfully informative and fun post, Nicola! Another for the research notebook and I am off to find the book you mentioned.
    I would have difficulty adjusting to the lack of privacy, that much is certain. I live alone (save for my dogs and cats) in the middle of five acres. I LOVE having an entire house to myself with two complete bathrooms to choose from!
    Oddly enough when I was singing I never noticed how little privacy members of a traveling opera company have. We stayed in hotel rooms, slept on trains and crowded into dressing rooms to change with no thought to privacy.
    And had I been born in Tudor England I feel certain I would have found some way to bathe! I can barely wait to get home from work to take a shower!

    Reply
  60. Wonderfully informative and fun post, Nicola! Another for the research notebook and I am off to find the book you mentioned.
    I would have difficulty adjusting to the lack of privacy, that much is certain. I live alone (save for my dogs and cats) in the middle of five acres. I LOVE having an entire house to myself with two complete bathrooms to choose from!
    Oddly enough when I was singing I never noticed how little privacy members of a traveling opera company have. We stayed in hotel rooms, slept on trains and crowded into dressing rooms to change with no thought to privacy.
    And had I been born in Tudor England I feel certain I would have found some way to bathe! I can barely wait to get home from work to take a shower!

    Reply
  61. Liz, I guess it is very much what you are used to. Helps if you are a good sleeper too! We once stayed in a cottage where our bed was on the open landing and everyone had to trek past to get to their rooms. Unfortunately they all went to bed later than we did. Thank goodness it was only for a week!

    Reply
  62. Liz, I guess it is very much what you are used to. Helps if you are a good sleeper too! We once stayed in a cottage where our bed was on the open landing and everyone had to trek past to get to their rooms. Unfortunately they all went to bed later than we did. Thank goodness it was only for a week!

    Reply
  63. Liz, I guess it is very much what you are used to. Helps if you are a good sleeper too! We once stayed in a cottage where our bed was on the open landing and everyone had to trek past to get to their rooms. Unfortunately they all went to bed later than we did. Thank goodness it was only for a week!

    Reply
  64. Liz, I guess it is very much what you are used to. Helps if you are a good sleeper too! We once stayed in a cottage where our bed was on the open landing and everyone had to trek past to get to their rooms. Unfortunately they all went to bed later than we did. Thank goodness it was only for a week!

    Reply
  65. Liz, I guess it is very much what you are used to. Helps if you are a good sleeper too! We once stayed in a cottage where our bed was on the open landing and everyone had to trek past to get to their rooms. Unfortunately they all went to bed later than we did. Thank goodness it was only for a week!

    Reply
  66. Theo, I love the idea of a “three dog night!” It reminded me of one of the family who went to stay in a very draughty baronial castle in Scotland. At bedtime her friend’s mother solemnly handed over a Jack Russell to each guest to keep them warm!

    Reply
  67. Theo, I love the idea of a “three dog night!” It reminded me of one of the family who went to stay in a very draughty baronial castle in Scotland. At bedtime her friend’s mother solemnly handed over a Jack Russell to each guest to keep them warm!

    Reply
  68. Theo, I love the idea of a “three dog night!” It reminded me of one of the family who went to stay in a very draughty baronial castle in Scotland. At bedtime her friend’s mother solemnly handed over a Jack Russell to each guest to keep them warm!

    Reply
  69. Theo, I love the idea of a “three dog night!” It reminded me of one of the family who went to stay in a very draughty baronial castle in Scotland. At bedtime her friend’s mother solemnly handed over a Jack Russell to each guest to keep them warm!

    Reply
  70. Theo, I love the idea of a “three dog night!” It reminded me of one of the family who went to stay in a very draughty baronial castle in Scotland. At bedtime her friend’s mother solemnly handed over a Jack Russell to each guest to keep them warm!

    Reply
  71. I thought the steam bath sounded delicious too, Mary Jo. I like the idea that medieval Londoners were all clean and sweet-smelling.
    Louisa, your post struck a chord with something I had been reading about dancers; that they are used to communal living, having no space to change in and no privacy. Interesting that people can still work like that and yet most of us relish space of our own.

    Reply
  72. I thought the steam bath sounded delicious too, Mary Jo. I like the idea that medieval Londoners were all clean and sweet-smelling.
    Louisa, your post struck a chord with something I had been reading about dancers; that they are used to communal living, having no space to change in and no privacy. Interesting that people can still work like that and yet most of us relish space of our own.

    Reply
  73. I thought the steam bath sounded delicious too, Mary Jo. I like the idea that medieval Londoners were all clean and sweet-smelling.
    Louisa, your post struck a chord with something I had been reading about dancers; that they are used to communal living, having no space to change in and no privacy. Interesting that people can still work like that and yet most of us relish space of our own.

    Reply
  74. I thought the steam bath sounded delicious too, Mary Jo. I like the idea that medieval Londoners were all clean and sweet-smelling.
    Louisa, your post struck a chord with something I had been reading about dancers; that they are used to communal living, having no space to change in and no privacy. Interesting that people can still work like that and yet most of us relish space of our own.

    Reply
  75. I thought the steam bath sounded delicious too, Mary Jo. I like the idea that medieval Londoners were all clean and sweet-smelling.
    Louisa, your post struck a chord with something I had been reading about dancers; that they are used to communal living, having no space to change in and no privacy. Interesting that people can still work like that and yet most of us relish space of our own.

    Reply
  76. I think this is a REALLY hard concept for modern people to grasp (esp modern Americans, who put privacy and personal space at a premium). I run into it a lot with writers who just can’t accept that people didn’t live alone, either (“But my heroine lives all alone. There’s no one to help her with her corset, so she wouldn’t wear one.”).
    I’m with Louisa when it comes to the whole, you don’t even notice not having privacy if that’s the norm. And I’m here to assure you all that after 15 years of Burning Man (fire arts festival in the desert), that nudity becomes mundane quickly and after 24 hours, you really do stop noticing how 99% of the people around you stink (but there’s always one guy that is just funky).

    Reply
  77. I think this is a REALLY hard concept for modern people to grasp (esp modern Americans, who put privacy and personal space at a premium). I run into it a lot with writers who just can’t accept that people didn’t live alone, either (“But my heroine lives all alone. There’s no one to help her with her corset, so she wouldn’t wear one.”).
    I’m with Louisa when it comes to the whole, you don’t even notice not having privacy if that’s the norm. And I’m here to assure you all that after 15 years of Burning Man (fire arts festival in the desert), that nudity becomes mundane quickly and after 24 hours, you really do stop noticing how 99% of the people around you stink (but there’s always one guy that is just funky).

    Reply
  78. I think this is a REALLY hard concept for modern people to grasp (esp modern Americans, who put privacy and personal space at a premium). I run into it a lot with writers who just can’t accept that people didn’t live alone, either (“But my heroine lives all alone. There’s no one to help her with her corset, so she wouldn’t wear one.”).
    I’m with Louisa when it comes to the whole, you don’t even notice not having privacy if that’s the norm. And I’m here to assure you all that after 15 years of Burning Man (fire arts festival in the desert), that nudity becomes mundane quickly and after 24 hours, you really do stop noticing how 99% of the people around you stink (but there’s always one guy that is just funky).

    Reply
  79. I think this is a REALLY hard concept for modern people to grasp (esp modern Americans, who put privacy and personal space at a premium). I run into it a lot with writers who just can’t accept that people didn’t live alone, either (“But my heroine lives all alone. There’s no one to help her with her corset, so she wouldn’t wear one.”).
    I’m with Louisa when it comes to the whole, you don’t even notice not having privacy if that’s the norm. And I’m here to assure you all that after 15 years of Burning Man (fire arts festival in the desert), that nudity becomes mundane quickly and after 24 hours, you really do stop noticing how 99% of the people around you stink (but there’s always one guy that is just funky).

    Reply
  80. I think this is a REALLY hard concept for modern people to grasp (esp modern Americans, who put privacy and personal space at a premium). I run into it a lot with writers who just can’t accept that people didn’t live alone, either (“But my heroine lives all alone. There’s no one to help her with her corset, so she wouldn’t wear one.”).
    I’m with Louisa when it comes to the whole, you don’t even notice not having privacy if that’s the norm. And I’m here to assure you all that after 15 years of Burning Man (fire arts festival in the desert), that nudity becomes mundane quickly and after 24 hours, you really do stop noticing how 99% of the people around you stink (but there’s always one guy that is just funky).

    Reply
  81. Nicole –
    From your description of the time I think I would have preferred to be a village maiden than live in London!
    When I was young my Dad used to go fishing up in the Adirondacks and having only girls decided that we could at least go with him to row the boat! The accomodations were less than to be desired – they came complete with outhouses. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad but you had to scan the surrounding areas for bears, racons and deer as you made the trek! Not something they thought you in grade school.
    Homes being built now come with multiple bathrooms but when I was a child in the 1940’s our 4 bedroom house had one bathroom. My mother was thrilled when finally my Dad added converted a closet into an “extra bathroom” on the first flour (sink and toilet only). We were the envy of the neighborhood.
    No matter the inconvenience or the times I would have bathed – note above to self “live in the country” hopefully near a stream or lake if nothing else available.
    Reminder to self if thinking of who to marry: Marry someone who knows how to dig a deep well.
    My husband is a history buff so whenever we travel we try to visit historical homes and have seen bedrooms here on the east coast of America that have inter-connecting bedrooms like Ashdown that were built in the 18th centurythat had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms – an idea they probably brought with them when they imigrated from England.

    Reply
  82. Nicole –
    From your description of the time I think I would have preferred to be a village maiden than live in London!
    When I was young my Dad used to go fishing up in the Adirondacks and having only girls decided that we could at least go with him to row the boat! The accomodations were less than to be desired – they came complete with outhouses. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad but you had to scan the surrounding areas for bears, racons and deer as you made the trek! Not something they thought you in grade school.
    Homes being built now come with multiple bathrooms but when I was a child in the 1940’s our 4 bedroom house had one bathroom. My mother was thrilled when finally my Dad added converted a closet into an “extra bathroom” on the first flour (sink and toilet only). We were the envy of the neighborhood.
    No matter the inconvenience or the times I would have bathed – note above to self “live in the country” hopefully near a stream or lake if nothing else available.
    Reminder to self if thinking of who to marry: Marry someone who knows how to dig a deep well.
    My husband is a history buff so whenever we travel we try to visit historical homes and have seen bedrooms here on the east coast of America that have inter-connecting bedrooms like Ashdown that were built in the 18th centurythat had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms – an idea they probably brought with them when they imigrated from England.

    Reply
  83. Nicole –
    From your description of the time I think I would have preferred to be a village maiden than live in London!
    When I was young my Dad used to go fishing up in the Adirondacks and having only girls decided that we could at least go with him to row the boat! The accomodations were less than to be desired – they came complete with outhouses. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad but you had to scan the surrounding areas for bears, racons and deer as you made the trek! Not something they thought you in grade school.
    Homes being built now come with multiple bathrooms but when I was a child in the 1940’s our 4 bedroom house had one bathroom. My mother was thrilled when finally my Dad added converted a closet into an “extra bathroom” on the first flour (sink and toilet only). We were the envy of the neighborhood.
    No matter the inconvenience or the times I would have bathed – note above to self “live in the country” hopefully near a stream or lake if nothing else available.
    Reminder to self if thinking of who to marry: Marry someone who knows how to dig a deep well.
    My husband is a history buff so whenever we travel we try to visit historical homes and have seen bedrooms here on the east coast of America that have inter-connecting bedrooms like Ashdown that were built in the 18th centurythat had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms – an idea they probably brought with them when they imigrated from England.

    Reply
  84. Nicole –
    From your description of the time I think I would have preferred to be a village maiden than live in London!
    When I was young my Dad used to go fishing up in the Adirondacks and having only girls decided that we could at least go with him to row the boat! The accomodations were less than to be desired – they came complete with outhouses. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad but you had to scan the surrounding areas for bears, racons and deer as you made the trek! Not something they thought you in grade school.
    Homes being built now come with multiple bathrooms but when I was a child in the 1940’s our 4 bedroom house had one bathroom. My mother was thrilled when finally my Dad added converted a closet into an “extra bathroom” on the first flour (sink and toilet only). We were the envy of the neighborhood.
    No matter the inconvenience or the times I would have bathed – note above to self “live in the country” hopefully near a stream or lake if nothing else available.
    Reminder to self if thinking of who to marry: Marry someone who knows how to dig a deep well.
    My husband is a history buff so whenever we travel we try to visit historical homes and have seen bedrooms here on the east coast of America that have inter-connecting bedrooms like Ashdown that were built in the 18th centurythat had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms – an idea they probably brought with them when they imigrated from England.

    Reply
  85. Nicole –
    From your description of the time I think I would have preferred to be a village maiden than live in London!
    When I was young my Dad used to go fishing up in the Adirondacks and having only girls decided that we could at least go with him to row the boat! The accomodations were less than to be desired – they came complete with outhouses. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad but you had to scan the surrounding areas for bears, racons and deer as you made the trek! Not something they thought you in grade school.
    Homes being built now come with multiple bathrooms but when I was a child in the 1940’s our 4 bedroom house had one bathroom. My mother was thrilled when finally my Dad added converted a closet into an “extra bathroom” on the first flour (sink and toilet only). We were the envy of the neighborhood.
    No matter the inconvenience or the times I would have bathed – note above to self “live in the country” hopefully near a stream or lake if nothing else available.
    Reminder to self if thinking of who to marry: Marry someone who knows how to dig a deep well.
    My husband is a history buff so whenever we travel we try to visit historical homes and have seen bedrooms here on the east coast of America that have inter-connecting bedrooms like Ashdown that were built in the 18th centurythat had a series of inter-connecting bedrooms – an idea they probably brought with them when they imigrated from England.

    Reply
  86. LOL on your comments about the Burning Man festival, Isobel! And yes, the whole idea of living in such close proximity with others is something modern westerners do have a lot of trouble understanding. It’s interesting to reflect on when and why attitudes changed.

    Reply
  87. LOL on your comments about the Burning Man festival, Isobel! And yes, the whole idea of living in such close proximity with others is something modern westerners do have a lot of trouble understanding. It’s interesting to reflect on when and why attitudes changed.

    Reply
  88. LOL on your comments about the Burning Man festival, Isobel! And yes, the whole idea of living in such close proximity with others is something modern westerners do have a lot of trouble understanding. It’s interesting to reflect on when and why attitudes changed.

    Reply
  89. LOL on your comments about the Burning Man festival, Isobel! And yes, the whole idea of living in such close proximity with others is something modern westerners do have a lot of trouble understanding. It’s interesting to reflect on when and why attitudes changed.

    Reply
  90. LOL on your comments about the Burning Man festival, Isobel! And yes, the whole idea of living in such close proximity with others is something modern westerners do have a lot of trouble understanding. It’s interesting to reflect on when and why attitudes changed.

    Reply
  91. Jeanne, I’m with you. If I had lived here in my village in the 18th century I could have taken a dip in the local springs. In fact there’s a place we take the dog to swim were the locals still skinny dip in the river in a hot summer. A lot more pleasant than being packed into a hot, smelly, sweaty city!
    Very interesting that the settlers took with them architectural ideas that reflected on privacy, too.

    Reply
  92. Jeanne, I’m with you. If I had lived here in my village in the 18th century I could have taken a dip in the local springs. In fact there’s a place we take the dog to swim were the locals still skinny dip in the river in a hot summer. A lot more pleasant than being packed into a hot, smelly, sweaty city!
    Very interesting that the settlers took with them architectural ideas that reflected on privacy, too.

    Reply
  93. Jeanne, I’m with you. If I had lived here in my village in the 18th century I could have taken a dip in the local springs. In fact there’s a place we take the dog to swim were the locals still skinny dip in the river in a hot summer. A lot more pleasant than being packed into a hot, smelly, sweaty city!
    Very interesting that the settlers took with them architectural ideas that reflected on privacy, too.

    Reply
  94. Jeanne, I’m with you. If I had lived here in my village in the 18th century I could have taken a dip in the local springs. In fact there’s a place we take the dog to swim were the locals still skinny dip in the river in a hot summer. A lot more pleasant than being packed into a hot, smelly, sweaty city!
    Very interesting that the settlers took with them architectural ideas that reflected on privacy, too.

    Reply
  95. Jeanne, I’m with you. If I had lived here in my village in the 18th century I could have taken a dip in the local springs. In fact there’s a place we take the dog to swim were the locals still skinny dip in the river in a hot summer. A lot more pleasant than being packed into a hot, smelly, sweaty city!
    Very interesting that the settlers took with them architectural ideas that reflected on privacy, too.

    Reply
  96. Ask any parent with children how much privacy they have — just about none. Does the facebook generation have any concept of privacy anyway?

    Reply
  97. Ask any parent with children how much privacy they have — just about none. Does the facebook generation have any concept of privacy anyway?

    Reply
  98. Ask any parent with children how much privacy they have — just about none. Does the facebook generation have any concept of privacy anyway?

    Reply
  99. Ask any parent with children how much privacy they have — just about none. Does the facebook generation have any concept of privacy anyway?

    Reply
  100. Ask any parent with children how much privacy they have — just about none. Does the facebook generation have any concept of privacy anyway?

    Reply

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