Lincoln’s Inn Bog House

Found objects
Lincoln’s Inn Bog House, c. 1690
Iron nails: 9cm,8cm, 11cm, 8.7cm, 6.7cm, 3.4cm, 1.9cm, 2.5cm, 3.2cm, 3.4cm
Museum no: I.180

Not all museum objects are made, some are found, as with these nails said to be from the Lincoln’s Inn Bog House. The nails found their way into The Keeper’s collection wrapped in an old petticoat, clearly, these ‘keepsakes’ held sentimental charm for someone.

The Bog House was an example of early public toilets, built at the end of the seventeenth century, on the northeast side of New Square within the Inns of Court. They consisted of a long narrow building which held six privies. Today, there is a small plaque denoting their location, on it states that no windows to be built there because of the putrid smell they emanated. Despite this, by the 1720s its proximity to many of London’s Molly houses made it a notorious cruising ground. As an excerpt from the London Journal reveals ‘the nocturnal assemblies of great numbers of the like vile persons… withdraw into some dark corners to endorse, as they call it, but in plain English to commit Sodomy' (7th May 1726). Lincoln's Inn Bog House was in time dismantled but not fully forgotten.

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