19 November 2008 by Dawn
It’s World Toilet Day. There’s no polite way of introducing it – you’ve just got to say it. You have to wonder who thinks these things up, but then there is a serious and worthy message about the state of the world’s sanitation to be gleaned.
Actually, museums and art galleries have formed a healthy relationship with the toilet that goes back beyond Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ or urinal. What self-respecting museum would be caught out without the humble (or in some cases the ridiculously ornate) chamber pot? You can see one that was designed for Napoleon, no less, in the Walker’s Craft & Design Gallery.
A quick internet search will reveal more toilet-related museums and collections than you imagine, including the Flushed With Pride gallery at Gladstone Pottery Museum I love this female chamber pot or ‘Bourdalon’ at the Science Museum. Replica ‘pee’-pots (I’ve sanitised the phrase for blogging purposes) are still very much in demand in the historical re-enactment community. They are incredibly handy for using under inaccessible kirtles and petticoats (as well as in tents).
In addition to the bog standard collection of chamber pots, National Museums Liverpool has got some top notch toilet exhibits. At the Seized! gallery at Maritime Museum you can see a ‘Special Isolation Unit’ or frost chamber which was used to locate internally smuggled drugs once they passed through the body. According to our web page, ‘Before its invention customs officers used rubber gloves and a colander, so this was seen as a much-needed replacement!’ Yak.
If lavatories are your idea of a laugh then look no further than The Walker’s truly spectacular Loophonium, which was designed and played by Fritz Spiegl, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s former principal flautist. I’ve heard of toilet humour, but that is just ridiculous.
Believe it or not we actually have a Loophonium e-card. I can’t think of many occasions when it would be appropriate to send it (although I can think of a few people who would fit the bill) so we may as well make the most of World Toilet Day.
But if you really want to celebrate World Toilet Day in style then how about downloading our podcast, and listening to it … on the loo?
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