So where has Tat (aka Percival Smith) been all this time? Poor Tatty, while his nickname was originally bestowed on him for his birthplace of Tatarariki, people began to question whether it was for another reason entirely, so Tat was removed from display for a clean and spruce-up from the museum’s Collections team. Back on public view, you can find him now perched on the seat in the long drop. “What’s a long drop?” I hear you say.
Before the advent of running water and flushing toilets, a long drop was the answer to the old problem of where to go when you needed to! Usually to be found out the back, down a narrow path to the bottom of the garden, the long drop was a small hut with a plain board seat mounted across the back wall. A cut-out in the seat conveniently placed over a deep hole took care of the business end of a visit. Privacy was ensured as now, by closing and locking the door on the inside while in use. In the days before toilet paper, there was usually a selection of small paper squares (generally cut from the local newspaper) attached to the wall for use as required. Tales abound of the dreaded night visit to the long drop as they were usually full of spiders and other insects. However, except for the obvious problem long drops presented in hot, summer weather, they were definitely an upwards move from the previous choice of a chamber pot and the night soil cart.
Tatty is busy making good use of his time in the long drop. He is polishing gum while waiting for results!
Tat’s time in the long drop is almost up. Watch out for his next move!