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In the Victorian style terraces where I grew up in the early 1900s, the red and blue tiled path that led from the scullery round the back of the house also led to the outside lavatory. This lavatory was the only one for the house.
The lavatory door consisted of tongue and groove lengths of wood about four inches wide. There was a space 6-8 inches top and bottom which meant that the room was open to the elements and thus well ventilated. The door opened and closed with a farmhouse-style up-down latch with an slide bolt inside for privacy.
Cliff Raven, resident of the same estate
The lavatory was a brick with a slate roof construction, built onto the back of the kitchen, but only accessible from outside in the yard. Fortunately my father's lean-to shed provided some protection when going out to it in bad weather.
The lavatory was a small cubicle of a place, not unlike the old outdoor privies, except that it was built into the main building of the house.
In an un-modernised house in the oldest road of houses on the estate, the loo basin was a steep conical shape. There must have been a U-trap somewhere just underground because there was no smell. The main sewer ran along the length of the whole road, along the backs of the houses in line with the loo outlets. There was the occasional manhole along that line.
The main cold water tank was in its roof and was boarded in. The small tank which served the lavatory was wall mounted high above the lavatory bowl but beneath and separate from the mains tank. The flush was chain operated. There was no lift up seat or lid.
The white flush pan was fed by a water cistern made of cast iron which was attached to the wall and supported by iron angle brackets situated about eight feet from ground. Its water was fed to the flush pan through a lead pipe about 2½ inches in diameter. It was efficient in operation and the only repairs needed would have been new chain pulls, ball valves and water feed washers.
resident of the same estate
The bowl of the lavatory was set into a box-like container which went the width of the cubicle. The lavatory seat consisted of planks of white wood across the whole width of the lavatory which my mother scrubbed every weekend.
There was no toilet paper as such. I don't think it existed, as I never saw any. We used newspaper cut into approximately six inches squares, pierced though with a meat skewer, threaded with string and hung on a hook. It was accepted common practice to read from these pieces while sitting in the lavatory. No-one thought about germs.
This all may sound crude but we never expected anything different. To us, what we had was the height of sophistication. My mother's mother, like many other families of the time, still used an outside privy lavatory and chamber pots. We too used chamber pots when the weather was bad and during the night. Elderly and sick people used commodes.