Friday, 23 November 2012

Public Necessaries

Sir - That sink of iniquity, the halfway public-house on the Kennington-road, being now removed, and with it the watering-place, it is highly necesary, on the score of decency, that the latter should be replaced for the convenience of the public. The east end of the shrubbery in the park appears to be an appropriate situation for the erection of such a convenience. It is to be hoped that the Chief Commssioner of the Woods and Forests will take the same into his favourable consideration, thereby conferring a boon on the numerous pedestrians of all classes, who are in the daily habit of passing to and fro on this much frequented line of the road.
    The drain should be taken into the sewer, and might be made use of to carry off the stagnant water from the ditches in the park.

Sir, - I see by one of your late numbers that it is in contemplation to establish in the metropolis public necessaries and urinals. It has long been a disgrace to the most civilised capital in the world that public decency should be outraged, whilst an obvious remedy was at hand. But whilst we are thus seeking to provide for the comfort of our own sex, allow me, as a married man, to say a few words on the unfortunate condition of females in this regard. I do so in all honour and respect, but I esteem it a false delicacy to allow them to suffer, through the want of some one to advocate a cause upon which they are unable to speak for themselves. The consequences in many cases are lamentable, and it is the imperative duty of every husband and father to guard those they love against diseases which render existence a burden.
    The plan which I propose is easy and simple, and perfectly consistent with the preservation of that delicacy of feeling which is the pride of our countrywomen. In each of the great thoroughfares there might be established waiting-rooms for ladies, with the necessary conveniences in an inner room. Let the outer room, as in the railway stations, be provided with benches, &c., and under the superintendence of a respectable female; let there be also a counter, where cloaks, umbrellas, clogs, &c. could be ticketed, and thus left for a few hours to be taken care of: thus a reason would be furnished for any lady who might wish to enter. These waiting-rooms must be totally distinct from those of the other sex, and not even under the same roof. No gentleman ought ot be permitted to cross the threshold on any pretence whatsoever. The charge for admittance, were it even as low as two-pence, would amply defray all expenses; many would also glady pay two-pence to sit down for a few minutes, whilst waiting for friends or an omnibus.
    I beg to apologize for trespassing upon your time, but it occurred to me that by means of your valuable and widely circulated journal, attention might be called to a grievance under which those dear to us all have long suffered in silence. - I am, Sir, &c.
    A Surgeon.

The Builder, p.33 1846

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