Saturday, 30 January 2010

Toiletries

Manhole cover at the top of Elm Hill, Norwich by Susie Mallett

I got the feeling this morning that my sister must be about

In our family we always say that, when the discussion gets around to the subject of toilets, she must be somewhere in the vicinity. As James Forlitti has pointed out, there has been quite a lot of toilet and bathroom talk on the conductive blogosphere recently, (Andrew Sutton, James Forlitti and myself). I immediately thought of my sister.

Why my sister?

Because my Big Sis collects toilets and toilet paraphernalia.

She has been an avid collector of all things related to Mr Thomas Crapper and earlier, for at least thirty years. She For her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, she received from her husband what is probably the best item in her collection.

The jewel in the crown!

In her bedroom there stands, in its old wooden casing, a wonderful toilet, one of the first with a flushing system. A toilet that was once used at Sandringham House, the Norfolk home of British Royalty!

In my sister's bathroom there are the larger models of toilets, in the guest toilet are the smaller items including tiny chamber pots, and covering the walls is the postcard collection.

Out in the garden the British Rail “Ladies” sign hangs from the side of the shed, and real-life toilets in pastel shades are filled with sweet-smelling miniature roses.

The family always have their eyes peeled for “toiletries” and there is always a suitable present for her in someone’s present store! When my Mum died, amongst her treasures we found a couple of junk-shop finds that had obviously been intended for Sis’s next birthday.

Sis has items in her collection from my travels around the world, from my parents car-boot sale visits, drawings from the children and several antiques. Once I even made her a ceramic toilet that flushes. Not with the ball-cock system invented by Thomas Crapper, but it works nevertheless.

She has mini-toilets in many forms: ashtray toilets, toilets that make noises, flower-pot-holder toilets, wooden models of outdoor toilets, signs for toilet doors, books on toilets and much more.

First-time visitors to Sis’s house don’t get lost on the way to the toilet, as Andrew Sutton did at the university in his toilet-blog, but they do tend to get lost once they find it. They get lost in the world of her wonderful collection. We don’t send out a search party, we don’t even ask why they have been away for so long.
Unfortunately I cannot find the photographs that I once took of her collection. Perhaps she will send me one later.

PS

Sis isn’t the only person to collect “toiletries”.
There used to be a lovely private collection of chamber pots in Munich at the “Centre of Unusual Museums”, ZAM-Zentrum für außsergewöhnlicher Museen.

I have just discovered while I was searching for the link that it closed down in 2005, due to the death of its owner. I visited it several years ago so that I could report back to my sister, and alongside the chamber-pots I discovered many other wonderful oddities, amongst them a collection of pedal cars, a collection of perfume bottles, a collection of Easter-rabbits and a Princess Sissi collection.

Notes

Andrew Sutton -

James Forliti –
Susie Mallett -

2 comments:

Judit Szathmáry said...

My lovely toilet paper holder was chewed up by one of my colleague’s puppy dog. I was searching for replacement and I came across this one, which might be some interest to your sister if I dont’t get to it first!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Antiqued-Nickel-Toilet-Roll-Holder_W0QQitemZ390012154445QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Antiques_Architecural_RL?hash=item5ace89324d

Susie Mallett said...

Hello Judit.
Thank you for this. It would certainly look great with the Sandringham toilet. I will let my sister know.
I hope you won't be bidding against each other!

Susie