KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
19th October 2018


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Generally when I receive a press release for KBZine I'm reminded of how much I've learnt about innovation in this industry since becoming involved just over two years ago. It took the BBC though to underline quite how far we've all come over the last few hundred years and my goodness, am I grateful!

For those who missed 'Filthy Cities' on Tuesday, historian Dan Snow looked at personal hygiene and the like in medieval London, 18th Century revolutionary Paris and 19th Century industrial New York and reported on a rare medieval document, which shows that people living in medieval times had many of the same concerns about bathrooms as we do now.

For example, in an era when many of her fellow citizens relieved themselves in chamber pots and surreptitiously tipped the contents out the window (often shouting: "gardez l'eau'" - watch out for the water - which is where the term 'loo' came from), Alice Wade, who lived in 14th Century London, had a loo in its own small room. Not a loo as we know it of course, but a hole cut in a wooden platform over a cesspool!

Her neighbours hated the smell so Alice rigged up a wooden pipe that connected her loo to a rainwater gutter that flushed a nearby public latrine. Unfortunately, the solids blocked the gutter, and her neighbours - "greatly inconvenienced by the stench", complained to the authorities. Alice was ordered to remove the pipe within 40 days. John le Yonge's neighbours were also given 40 days' notice to remove their pipe, which carried waste from their solar [toilet room] above his John's cellar, but which overflowed into it.

The programme revealed that back in medieval times, many neighbourly disputes concerned misdirected, leaking or otherwise noisome privies, as medieval cities had no infrastructure to cope with the disposal of human waste. Generally, it was dumped into rivers and tributaries or trodden into the ground, and although some people came up with ingenious ways to get rid of it, these could be a bit 'hit and miss', as the programme illustrated.

You can watch the programme at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z8r9l and no doubt then, like me, you'll be delighted at how things have moved on!

And talking of moving on, I'd had no idea how much microwaves had improved since I last bought one several years ago. I'm getting along famously with my new Whirlpool Max 38 which takes up about a third of the space on my worktop, yet still accommodates my 28cm plates. I'm also loving the touch-pad controls which are so much easier to clean thoroughly than my old push buttons, which would always depress as I cleaned and which would harbour germs down the sides. I didn't know I could bake cakes in a microwave either so I'm going to treat the family at the weekend and will let you know what everyone thinks.




Jan Hobbs


8th April 2011

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