A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 37
George Mitchell’s little visitors are in fact – BED BUGS!
Bed bugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years, however, they are not known to transmit any infectious diseases.
Bed bugs are a type of insect that feed on human blood, usually at night. Their bites can result in a number of problems including skin rashes, psychological effects, allergic symptoms and itchiness.
Very often bed bugs would drop from the ceiling onto their victim, which is why George would keep a broom handle with a washer on the end by his bed to squish them on the ceiling.
You may notice that there isn’t a guzunder under George’s bed. He had upgraded to a commode. This in fact is a guzunder in a small wooden cabinet with a lid. You can see one in the corner of his bedroom.
As with shoes, clothes were more expensive in days gone by and men’s shirts were no exception. The part of the shirt that quickly got dirty was the collar. However, the inventive Victorians had come up with a solution that was still in common use until after the second world war.
A shirt would be worn every day of the week, but the collar would be changed daily. It would be easily washed and starched ready for use again. There are a few detachable collars in George’s bedroom. Folk say that nothing is new, and detachable collars have become popular in certain situations some 90 years after George was wearing them – or indeed collarless shirts without collars!
Let’s just take a look at the floor here. The floorcovering is linoleum, or lino and this piece was found in the cellar when the restoration was taking place. Great care was taken to flatten out this roll of linoleum for us to see. What we often call “lino” nowadays is actually vinyl floorcovering.
On the lino is a “rag rug” which were traditionally made at home by threading small pieces of cloth (the rags) through a sheet of hessian. Many of the rooms here have rag rugs on the floor and “Rag Rug Making Courses” are frequently held at the Back-to-Backs.
George Mitchell, as we know, lived on his own, so let’s find out what he has got in his attic.