I don't often include pictures of toilets in my blog posts but I think it is important to remember just what conditions were like on board ship.
This is a picture of a washbasin and toilet hole in the officers' head (bathroom) onboard the USS Constellation, a wooden-hulled sloop-of-war that served in the U.S. Navy from 1854-1933 and 1940-1955. It's now a museum ship in Baltimore, Maryland. The picture is courtesy of Kevin Harber on Flickr. Creative Commons Licence here.
I tend to look at my ancestor's lives with rose-coloured glasses at times...how romantic being in the Navy and sailing the seven seas and all that. But I'm sure at times it was just plain horrible and hideous.
Toilets are called the Heads in sailor-speak so don't ever accept the offer of being Captain of the Heads if you're on board ship. It sounds a grand title but it means you're in charge of the toilets...and when they're blocked..it isn't pretty! They were called heads because they were located at the bow or head of the ship. Thanks to Jackspeak for this definition.
The Royal Hospital Haslar opened as a Royal Navy hospital in 1753 and was the largest hospital in England at the time. Research into scurvy was conducted here. It's where the first blood bank in England was set up during WWII. The hospital closed in 2009. For more history about the site go to the Haslar Heritage Group website. There are some good articles there by Eric Birbeck. For some amazing images visit this site.
Some of you may remember the 2010 Time Team story about Cranfield University's archaelogical dig at the Haslar Hospital site. Fascinating stuff.
Don't forget to eat your oranges and lemons, will you and stay healthy?