A “Virtual” Tour of The Back to Backs – part 11



A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 11

We’ll take a moment to imagine the Levy family having finished the meal that Adelaide & Pricilla had prepared. They would blow out the candles, put them safe in the box over the inglenook and go up to bed. They would call goodnight to each other, say a prayer and blow out the final candle – all is quiet. Except for the howl of the wind, and the rain tamping against the window.

You find yourself lying awake – wishing you could go off to sleep – but slumber eludes you.

Then you realise that you need to go to the toilet, but you are not too happy about the prospect of going down stairs where the rats and mice may be scampering about in the glow from remains of the fire. The privy is out there in the cold & wet, across the muddy courtyard where there are more vermin and spiders!

You are desperate! What are you going to do?

Well, if we look under any of the beds here we will see, what is known as a po, a jerry, a pisspot, a potty, or maybe even chamber pot. But in Birmingham what we are looking for will always be known as a GUZUNDER! Why is it called this? Well, it’s because it “GUZ UNDER” (goes under) the bed.

You may recall that when we met Adelaide we discovered that her SECOND job every day was fetching the water from the well. Her first job every day, would, of course, be to use a bucket (not the one that she is going to collect the water in!) to collect the contents of all the Guzunders in the house and take them out to where she would dispose of them.

Let’s just hope that no one had felt unwell in the night! …. With that thought in our minds, let’s go upstairs yet again.

Adelaide’s Guzunder
A decorated Victorian Guzunder
A less elaborate, but well used, Guzunder