I wrote a little history of Chicago. From being a tiny settlement in 1830 it has grown to be one of North America's largest cities. www.localhistories.org/chicago
Monday, 26 May 2014
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After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD sophisticated plumbing disappeared from Europe for centuries. In Saxon times toilets were simply pits in the ground with wooden seats over them. (For ordinary people that remained the case for centuries afterwards).
However in the Middle Ages monks built stone or wooden lavatories over rivers. At Portchester Castle in the 12th century monks built stone chutes leading to the sea. When the tide went in and out it would flush away the sewage.
In castles the toilet was called a garderobe and it was simply a vertical shaft with a stone seat at the top. Some garderobes emptied into the moat.
In the Middle Ages wealthy people might use rags to wipe their behinds. Ordinary people often used a plant called common mullein or woolly mullein. www.localhistories.org/toilets