^UP^ to Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper index.
Chapters: ABCDEFGHI J KLMNOPRSTUVWYZ Extracts from Adam Hart-Davis's book.
(Buy the book from Micheal O'Mara Books, ISBN 1-85479-250-4,
or in the US, ISBN 1570760810.)
Jakes was the normal word for lavatory or privy from the sixteenth century
to the eighteenth. In King Lear II ii 74--6 Shakespeare wrote "I will
tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of the jakes
with him." The origin is obscure, but may be from Jaques' or Jack's
'Japanese-style' lavatories, designed for squatting
rather than sitting, look rather like bidets sunk into the floor,
and have been called 'bombsites' by occidental travellers.
However, the world's most advanced 'western-style' lavatories
are also made in Japan.
The Territorial Army unit on the Channel Island of Jersey was looking for a
useful community exercise in 1992; so at the request of the Customs and
Excise Department they built a new water-tank and lavatory alongside the
customs hut on the Ecrehous, a chain of rocky islets between the north-east
coast of Jersey and France. It was the first flushing lavatory on the
Ecrehous, and it raised a mighty stink among those with holiday retreats
there. Brigadier Raoul Lempriere-Robin is quoted as saying "Why can't
they make do with an Elsan? ... The toilet is now the grandest structure
on the Ecrehous... To put it bluntly, it has been a bugger's muddle all
Text extracts from "Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper" copyright (c) Adam Hart-Davis1997.
Web extracts first published 2007-07-18,
updated ✎2018-10-24 Images available from the DHD Multimedia Gallery.
Site content copyright (c) Damon Hart-Davis 1997--2018 unless otherwise stated.
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