Pissdale


Object Detail

About This Object
Seamen could urinate into “piss dales” - small receptacles like basins with a pipe leading out through the side of the ship. Like all ships of the line, the crew’s main toilet accommodation was provided in two semi-circular ‘roundhouses’ on the foremost bulkhead of the upper deck behind the figurehead. This was known as the heads of the ship. “Seats of easement” overhung the water so that human waste would fall straight into the sea. However, they never seemed to be enough of these for a crew of 700 men so buckets may have been provided above the decks for immediate use. Evidently, this was not sufficient for many seamen, and Admiralty Regulations of 1747 demanded that sentries be placed by the gratings to prevent men from ‘easing themselves’ into the hold. Sanitary arrangements of 18th Century warship appear revolting to the modern mind. Even though disposal of waste was quite easy at sea for it could simply be discharged over the side, the hygienic aspect contributed much to the high rate of deaths from disease. It was estimated that deaths were high with 1 in 7 seamen dying.
Catalogue Number
INV.280
Collection
Invincible
Measurements
Length: 460mm
Width: 240mm
Depth: 220mm (8 11/16")
Weight: 1/8cwt (6kg)
Production Date
Pre 1758
Production Period
Eighteenth Century

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