Child's commode chair and chamber pot

Child's commode chair and chamber pot Museum nos. B.26-1994 and B.837-1993

This ceramic chamber pot, with a moulded base so that it stands securely, was used by itself rather than part of a commode. This pot was made in England by Davenport and Company. The front and back are transfer printed with the 'Muleteer' pattern: a man riding a mule through a picturesque river landscape with a castle on a rocky  promontory in the background, and trees and church-like buildings by a cascade in the foreground.

Until modern ideas about food developed in the 1920s, many children had a very monotonous diet. This was high in carbohydrates and low in fresh fruit and meat, and sometimes caused constipation, which was promptly treated with a laxative.

Popular naturally occurring laxatives for children and adults were castor oil, prunes, senna and rhubarb. Chemical potions included brimstone (sulphur) mixed with treacle, and calomel, a compound of mercury and chloride.




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