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Pewter bed pan, France, 1750-1890

The bedpan is a classic piece of hospital ward equipment. It was essential when the patient was elderly or bed-bound and very useful at a time when most toilets were outside. This pewter example is punched with the maker’s name, “Deverres”, and the place name, “Caen, France”, and is said to have been used in a French hospital called Maison Leseigner.

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Glossary: hospital

An institution providing health care for individuals. This usually takes the form of medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for ill or injured people

Glossary: bedpan

Shallow containers made of metal, glass or plastic designed to be used for urination or defecation by people confined to bed.