Thursday, March 19, 2015

Queen Victoria loved her crapper.

Queen Victoria loved her crapper. Seriously.  Thomas Crapper invented the first “Water Closets,” as well as the "ballcock," and Prince Albert had one (water closet)  installed for his wife in Osborne House on the Isle of Wright. Victoria so preferred it to chamber pots that she had water closets installed everywhere she spent time.  Balmoral Castle in Scotland had 14 water closets.

But the question is, what did she use for toilet paper? Toilet paper wasn't invented as we know it until the 1880's, although a Medical roll of paper was evidently around in 1866. 

But Victoria never did take to the roll. Evidently she used individual square paper pieces neatly stacked in attractive wooden holders supplied by Thomas Capper & Co.  Or maybe she had her own queenly fancy crapper paper holders.

And how did I come to discover all this fascinating information about Queen Victoria and her crapper? I’m researching my upcoming book, “Whiskey for Tea: A Tale of Scotland.” My heroine, Cassandra, is a thoroughly modern young woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who slips through time on a visit to her engineer father in Northern Scotland. And she meets the Queen, and works for her for a while.

View image on TwitterSo I am trying to figure out what it would be like to find yourself in 1867 Scotland and try to fit in and not call attention to yourself. How would a woman survive? She’d have to have a job, but practically the only jobs for women at the time were as domestic servants, so she'’d have to fit into a household with other servants watching her every move. 

She couldn't wear makeup. Whore. 


She couldn't leave the premises without permission. Whore. 


She couldn't wear a bra. Whore. 


What happened during “that time” of month? How did she bathe? Did servants bathe? Did the masters bathe? So many questions.


I was looking for things invented around the time my book is set. I want my heroine to be able to eventually leave domestic service and see a bit of the Victorian world. Meet some of the fascinating people alive at that time. Have adventures. 

Her money has to come from somewhere, and at that time, if she didn't marry a rich man, what were her options? What does she know and what does she have with her that could contribute to financial security?

She will be dressed in Scottish dress when she travels back in time. I have that figured out. And she can have some kind of bag that fits into that time. 

Bags then weren't very big. What should be in it? Something that she eventually discovers could make her financially independent? 

She will have a journal. And a pen. Which wasn't invented yet, or was that year….That gives me ideas.  

And a sewing kit, because she is an accomplished seamstress. Surely some makeup. She’s a girly girl. But that was a no-no back then. 

Maybe a flask of whiskey. She’s a whiskey drinking girly girl. And some tarot cards. I have to learn more about tarot cards. What else?

But whatever she takes back with her, she’s going to wish she’d tucked in some toilet paper. 


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Actually, the picture below has nothing to do with this article. I just stumbled onto it, but I couldn't resist posting it here.



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