English Heritage today revealed their newest addition to Brodsworth Hall, one of the ‘poshest’ outdoor privies in the country.
Nestled within a fragrant secret garden, it was built complete with pagoda- style roof and pergola trellis porch, exclusively for the use of the Thellusson family.
In 1864 George Ball was paid £3 and five shillings for building the privy in the gardens.
It was a simple brick-built structure, latterly with polished seat positioned above a hole, and was emptied daily by the garden staff and the appropriately named ‘night soil’ was spread on the garden at dusk.
It was set behind yew hedging and surrounded by scented flowers, for the family, their guests and no-one else.
The family fortunes changed and Brodsworth Hall and Gardens passed into the care of English Heritage in 1990. The gardens had become very overgrown but the original structure of the privy survived. English Heritage undertook careful restoration to recapture the original spirit of the gardens and in 2016 work started to restore what is thought to be one of the country’s few remaining outdoor privies – a privy with a privileged legacy and a piece of social history for visitors to Brodsworth.
Daniel Hale, head gardener at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens said: “The outdoor privy is a fantastic addition to the grounds and while it is always good to enjoy our visitors’ reactions as they turn the corner, it is also a great example of how conservation and horticulture can work hand in hand. The gardeners went above and beyond to complete the project on time and we enjoyed superb support from local volunteers and suppliers. The icing on the cake was the planting and we look forward to seeing the results of our labour as the garden continues to bloom over the summer. Thankfully we won’t need to manage any distribution of ‘night soil’ on this occasion!”