Random Friday memory 15 — constipation

Here’s a cute Royal Doulton piece:

Outdoor Dunny Bunny

I could do a whole set of random memories on dunnies, but not this time. Today is related however:


That is from 1926, but 1946 through the early 50s were similarly obsessed with constipation and cures thereof. (I suspect the dunny itself contributed to the epidemic! Our part of The Shire was pan toilets, not sewered.)

I probably had Syrup of Figs given to me more than once, and prunes. However, there were other remedies. In order of revoltingness:

  1. Paraffin
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Castor Oil

Olive oil was never used for cooking back in the day, even though the Fauldings stuff we took by the spoonful was apparently Extra Virgin (and locally made).



The prize for nastiness goes to Castor Oil. Mussolini was famous for it apparently. On the fortunately few occasions when our depooing was considered especially urgent we were generally served a witches’ brew of orange juice, baking soda and castor oil. The results, when they came, made the dunny even more off-putting than usual.

I am told home birthers use it to induce labour. Poor things!

Here is a modern account of childhood constipation. Very direct.

Constipation is when your child has difficulty passing a hard stool (‘poo’) or doesn’t go to the toilet regularly.