Take a Sink to Bed
Monday, 30 November -0001

Take a Sink to Bed

Sam Taylor makes the case for putting the sink back into the bedroom

Written by Sam Taylor
Although King Edward III installed a rudimentary bathroom in the Palace of Westminster in the 14th century, the rest of the country struggled on with wooden bowls and steel tubs for another 500 years. And though the first modern deodorant, Mum, was invented in 1888, most houses were without proper ‘facilities’ until the 1960s.

Indoor plumbing was costly (it still is, actually) and so homeowners made do with an ad hoc system that was still roughly in place when we bought Rock House – although Oliver did have an ancient electric water heater.

Loos were outside or the chamber pot was under the bed. Bathing was in the tub by a fire if you were lucky. And day-today washing was done at a washstand in the bedroom using a jug and bowl. Nothing was fixed in one place, because nothing was joined to anything. Water would be heated in a ‘copper’ connected to the scullery and jugs of water were filled for use in the bedrooms. When connection to a mains finally happened, the loo was brought inside, usually squashed into a cupboard or closet. The washstands in the bedrooms were replaced by sinks which indirectly gave rise to a boom in seaside B&Bs. Before, only private boarding houses were able to cater for guests’ needs as it was labour-intensive to have maids running jugs of hot water up and down stairs.

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At some point in the 1970s, the idea of the ‘en suite’ developed and sinks in bedrooms were seen as old fashioned, worse, rather sleazy. They became ceramic emblems of weekends away in down-atheel hotels and were ripped out of most houses. It is rare now to see a sink in a bedroom. But why? They make perfect sense.

Once it was decided that one room would house all, a queue was automatically formed; the bathroom queue. Mostly caused by people shaving or performing an elaborate cleansing routine. If everyone has a sink, no problem, no queue and no rising anxiety for guests fearing they are taking too much time. So, I intend to buck the trend and put the sink back into the


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