Plumbing, Heating, and Sanitation in the Elizabethan Era
The Elizabethan Era had many advances in the arts; however, it was also a very filthy and dirty period of time. Much of the filth caused deadly diseases that spread like wildfire. More so, the severe overcrowding, especially in London, only made the situation worse (Andrews 95).Contrary to belief, most people during the Elizabethan Era cared greatly about their personal hygiene, but with the technology they had at the time, it was very difficult to achieve a good standard of cleanliness (Olsen 387). All of the technologies regarding hygiene could be considered non-existent by today's standards. Plumbing, heating, and sanitation were primitive and in the earliest stages of their development at this time.

First of all, all water had to be obtained from sells since running water did not yet exist (Emerson 54). Along with wells, rainwater was stored, but it did not provide as much water (54). To collect the water, cisterns, which were containers made of stone, wood, or alabaster, were used (54). Eventually, hand pumps were invented, and later hand pumps incorporating water wheels (54). The pumps used piping made of lead and copper (54). even with the invention of the different water pumps, collecting water was an inconvenience.

As far as bathrooms are concerned, privies were the most common public outhouse u
sed (Olsen 387). A privy was more or less a hole dug in the ground (387). Once that hole was filled, a new one was dug to become another privy (387). For relief indoors, a chamber pot or close-stool was used (387). Chamber pots, which were used specifically at night, were pots to hold excrement, and they would be emptied in the morning (387). Close-stools, on the other hand, were owned by the wealthy, but they nothing more than chamber pots with wooden, padded seats (387). During this period, there were virtually no flush toilets (387). However, Sir John Harvington invented the hydraulic water closet, which was considered the first flush toilet (Emerson 54). Unfortunately, Sir Harvington's invention was only a novelty in England (54). As well as having no flush toilet, there was no toilet paper either (54). Instead of toilet paper, bunches of herbs and moss were used or a stick with a sponge soaked in salt water (54). The Elizabethan Era had some of the earliest forms of toiletries along with toilets.

Elizabethan Fireplace
The only source of heat in Elizabethan times was an open fire (Singman 55). Most every household had at least one fireplace to heat the home (81). The more fireplaces in a home, the more wealthy that home was (81). In addition to the fireplaces and their numbers displaying wealth, the grandeur of the chimney boasted the social status as well (Dodd 76). In order to have heat in other parts of the house without having another fireplace, people filled earthen vessels with hot coals and brought them to the separate rooms (Singman 81). When night came, fires were put out to prevent house fires, and in the morning, a servant, if the homeowners had a servant, would build and start a new fire (55). Although people of the Elizabethan Era had no efficient way of heating their homes, they made do with the methods they had.

Finally, sanitation only worsened in Elizabethan England and caused many problems. Most importantly, there was no such thing as pure, untainted water except in very rare cases in which wells have not been made into sewers (Dodd 63). This was one of the major factors in England's poor sanitation, and it caused most of the diseases of that era (Andrews 95). In turn, the sicknesses and diseases caused poverty since the ill could not work (95). An idea arose in response to the diseases that steam baths would cure venereal diseases (Emerson 56). Other than unsanitary water, most people bathed often enough for decency at that time. Queen Elizabeth I, who was thought to have hardly washed, bathed every two weeks (Andrews 146). She and other wealthy folk had wooden tubs to bathe in, but the poor washed in rivers or ditches (146). Nevertheless, most people washed in cold water, unless they had servants to heat the
Chamber pot
water before they bathed (Singman 56). Mentioned earlier, plumbing in the Elizabethan Era was crude and had no way of removing the waste to somewhere else. Waste was disposed into cesspits, but in the morning, chamber pots were emptied out the window (Turows). This way of disposing waste brought about the idea that men walking with a woman should walk on the outer part of the sidewalk (Turows). In addition to throwing waste on the streets, men would urinate in them too (Emerson 231). Streets where urinating was popular were given the name "Rose Alley," and those in the act were said to be "plucking a rose" (231). Despite the reality of the sanitary situation, people living in the Elizabethan Era did care about hygiene and cleanliness but obviously failed to achieve it.

Taking everything into perspective, the Elizabethan Era ended with better innovations, especially in plumbing, than when it began. On the contrary, sanitation was awful and caused many diseases. As for heating, open fires did what they needed to do, but they were inefficient in heating more than one room. During the Elizabethan Era, plumbing, heating, and sanitation were primitive and in the earliest stages of their development.