Earth closet

A dull and murky day, I had a little derelict exploration on the way back from going to the bottle bank. Poor old Dunbeacon National School is literally disintegrating. Built in 1902, this was a two roomed school with a small corridor for cloaks. The rooms, one for the juniors and one for the seniors, were heated by open fireplaces. There was a yard at the back, the post that divided it into boys and girls playing areas still there. And at the back of the yard - the conveniences! Two of them in a little shed, presumably one for boys and one for girls. Where the teachers went I wouldn't like to imagine. A thunder box or an earth closet - the waste literally just went into a pit which was cleared out rarely and must have been incredibly smelly and unpleasant.  

Here's an interesting thing. In 1859 a Rev Moule  was fed up with the stink of the family cesspit and decided to buried the sewage in trenches in his garden. He was astonished to find that the waste had disappeared after a few weeks and was not at all stinky. He was even more impressed to discover that the newly enriched soil made his veg grow like mad. He observed: The great ... agent ... is dried surface earth, both for absorption and for deodorising offensive matters. And he no longer threw away the valuable manure but kept it and remarked on the luxuriant growth of vegetables in my garden.

Now if the children had been persuaded to pee elsewhere and add a bit of dry earth or straw afterwards this could have become a useful compost toilet and they could have grown vegetables. When we were doing renovations to the house and had no water, we installed a very basic compost toilet in the shed overlooking the pond- a room with a view and remarkably civilised. Some other friends imported an incredibly expensive compost toilet from Canada. It was electric and you had a to press a button afterwards which let out an enormous whoomp and everything seemed to shudder, it was quite terrifying. 

Thanks to Marlieske for keeping the Derelict Sunday challenge going.

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