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Chamber pot, England, 1501-1700

Chamber pots were used in the home or hospitals in an age when most toilets were outside – or non-existent. Around this time, chamber pots were often emptied out of windows straight into the street. Such simply designed earthenware chamber pots with single colour glazes were common in the 1600s, possibly because a lack of decoration meant they were inexpensive to produce.

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Glossary: hygiene

The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

Glossary: chamber pot

Bowl-shaped container with a handle, used as a urinal at night. Chamber pots remained in common use until the 1900s when inside water closets replaced them. They are still used in countries where indoor plumbing is rare.