Wash ewer here!

Yes, we have a wash bowl and ewer here. They were used at Crossways, a house on the King’s Road in the past.

Apparently the house had rather primitive plumbing facilities. Pat, who lived at the house writes:

‘The plumbing at Crossways when we bought it in 1972 was fairly primitive. There was a bath and lavatory upstairs and, amongst other facilities a copper for boiling clothes in the kitchen, and an outside lavatory. Like all early houses on the Kings Road ridge, the house had its own well. There was a pump by the back door which was still in place in 1972 though mains water had been available since the 1930s.’

 The previous occupant was Mrs Hawes. She was poorly and a neighbour (Mrs Bee) brought water to her room in a ewer. The water was tipped into a bowl for Mrs Hawes to use.

We have very recently been given ewer and bowl.

Ewer and wash bowl from Crossways, Market Lavington

Ewer and wash bowl from Crossways, Market Lavington

Both items are in a blue glaze with white interiors. We discuss whether they are a deliberate pair or have been put together because they so nearly match.

They are large items – the bowl being similar to a round washing up bowl. There are no makers’ marks to help identify them.

Disposal of the water was now a problem – carrying bowls of water about is fraught with danger. But – in Pat’s words again,

‘It would have been hazardous to carry a full basin of dirty water downstairs so, reputedly, the procedure was to use an exterior drain system.

At the top of the stairs is what looks like a small cupboard.  If this is opened, a small brown earthenware sink is revealed. This can be clearly seen from outside above the back door. The dirty water from the sink runs down a pipe into the main house drainage system.’

Thanks to Pat and Sue his wife, for keeping these items for over forty years and then, when the time came, passing them on to the museum. As we have a ‘Getting up in the morning’ display this year, ewer and bowl have been added to it.


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