Tuesday, 16 May 2017


The Morning Star of Padstow… 

Such slow progress
Was achieved through Padstow’s
Narrow streets and alleyways
 By the sanitary cart, daily seen rattling 
On uneven cobbles and spilling 
Excrement, its stench filling
Nostrils already strained
By fish and smoke and the filthy water, drained
Along mucky gutters of cluttered, smutty lanes;
Even the horse hung its head in apparent distress…

Such a vile process
Thus aggrieved the Padstow
Tenants and troubled residents
For the gimballed barrel was seen swinging
On an axle and slewing
Faeces, its stink spewing
Onto wheels already stained
By urine and muck and with damp sand ingrained
From regular scavenging trips on Cornish lanes;
And even the horse drooped its head at the abhorrent cess…

Pete Ray
May 2017

Based upon a report about a typhoid epidemic in Padstow, 1876, it appeared that ‘The Morning Star’ collected pails of ‘waste’ from outside homes and emptied the stinking contents into a gimballed barrel, meaning that the filthy container was able to rotate about a single axis.

Disinfectants were apparently provided but there is little evidence that they were either used, or even successful…

The ‘scavenger’ would then lead both horse and cart to the countryside where the contents of his collection would be used agriculturally.

The accompanying image is startling…

Great job for someone with a peg on his nose, I guess…

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