Cabinet of Curiosities | In Search of Loo-topia

The Fernie Museum is proud to present Cabinet of Curiosities, a video series investigating the stories behind our artifact collection. Each week, a new object is thoroughly examined by our trusty Collectionsperson, Lindsay Vallance.

The star of this week’s show is not an object, but a room: specifically, the bath-room. Come with us and explore the Victorian London’s ludicrous lack of ladies lavatories, and how it affected lives of half the population.



Contributor(s): Australasian Sketcher / Public domain,_The_New_Queensland_Ministry.jpg

Print, Austria No. 1: Plate from “Dickinson’s Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851,” published 1854., 1851
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum / Public domain,_Austria_No._1-_Plate_from_%22Dickinson%27s_Comprehensive_Pictures_of_the_Great_Exhibition_of_1851,%22_published_1854.,_1851_(CH_18669933).jpg

Fax Talbot / Public domain

Interior of the Crystal Palace
J. McNeven / Public domain

Designs for Public Water Closets and Urinals
See page for author / CC BY (
Credit: Designs for Public Water-Closets and Urinals. Metroploitan Sewers 15th March 1849. Joseph William Bazalgette
Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Underground Convenience, Marylebone. George Jennings Ltd./ Clive Hurst/ Flickr
Underground Convenience, Marylebone. George Jennings Ltd.

Public toilet w/ graffiti
Photo by Gabor Monori on Unsplash

You’re not painting this, are you?
Quinn Dombrowski/ Flickr/ Taken March 28, 2008
You're not painting this, are you?

Tring high street, 19th century
Unknown author / Public domain,_19th_century.jpg

Title page from Our Social Health
Published by S Welles Cone, Boston, 1865 Source: The Wellcome Collection.

Urinoir Paris
Charles Marville / Public domain,_Urinoir_en_ardoise_%C3%A0_3_stalles,_Chauss%C3%A9e_du_Maine,_ca._1865.jpg

Woman in a Park
Charles Cottet / Public domain

La toilette intime (Bourdaloue)
François Boucher / Public domain,_1760s.jpg

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum / Public domain,_18th_or_early_19th_century_(CH_18459699-2).jpg

Women in the Garden
Claude Monet / Public domain

Pierre-Auguste Renoir / Public domain

The Bayswater Omnibus by George W. Joy / Public domain

Department Store, Finney Isles, Brisbane 1910
ee page for author / Public domain,_Brisbane,_1910.jpg

Women shopping
Image by Michael Drummond Pixabay

McWhirters Department Store, Brisbane 1910
Unknown author / Public domain

Ladies mile, New York
Unknown author / Public domain,_New_York_1898.jpg

Gun factory
George P. Lewis (1918). / Public domain

Women railway workers
Unknown author / Public domain

Trolley driver
Nicholls Horace / Public domain

Comfort room signage
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Photo of US Senate Building by aviation_traveler1011 / Public domain

Parliament Buildings Ottawa
No machine-readable author provided. Arctic.gnome assumed (based on copyright claims). / CC BY-SA (


Related Posts

Indian Clubs: Let’s Get Physical

  Home fitness is all the rage! And that means the Fernie Museum Historical Spa and Fitness Centre is bringing back the original functional exercise doohickey: the Indian Club! Yes, this oddly-shaped piece of wood has been keeping fitness buffs like Persian...

read more