Today we are urged to report fly-tipping and other nuisances - just as our forebears did 700 years ago. Their complaints survive in a rare medieval document, the Assize of Nuisance, which sheds new light on an age-old problem.
Alice Wade, who lived in 14th Century London, could not countenance the smell of her own poo. In an era when many of her fellow citizens relieved themselves in chamber pots and surreptitiously tipped the stinking contents out the window, she had a toilet in its own small room. But 700 years ago, a toilet was a hole cut in a wooden platform over a cesspool. The smells that emanated were most foul.
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