Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

Work in Progress: Back passages and excreta tubs: improvements to the conservancy system of sanitation in Victorian Lancashire

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2012), 161, (1), 47–63.

Abstract

Arising from on-going research into working-class accommodation standards, this article reports early findings about the attempts made to improve domestic sanitation in Victorian Lancashire. Consideration is given to the means by which the so-called conservancy methods were developed, especially as excreta tubs used by single families gained favour at the expense of open cesspit privies shared by several families. More research is needed to gain clearer insights into the issues raised, as well as into related considerations, including the vexed questions of ventilating privies and disposing of domestic ordure after it was collected. A further dimension of the research relates to the rate at which the conservancy system was replaced by the water-carriage system and the impact this change had on the health and comfort of working-class families.

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Author details

Timmins, Geoff