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History Lesson


Loves Norman Reedus
Where did “Pi** Poor” come from?
Interesting History
They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery.
If you had to do this to survive, you were “Pi** Poor.”
BUT worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot.
They didn’t have a “Pot to Pi** In,” & they were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands & complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500’s:
Most people got married in June because they took their a yearly bath in May and they still smelled pretty good by June.
HOWEVER, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of nice clean water, then all the sons and other men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty that you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs – thick straw piled high with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats & other small animals lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirty. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt Poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence; a thresh hold.

In the old days they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Everyday, they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme; peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hand up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could “Bring Home the Bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “Chew the Fat.”

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottoms of the loaf, the family got the middle and guests got the top, or the “Upper Crust.”

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of “Holding a Wake.”

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people, so they would dig up coffins and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realised they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night, “The Graveyard Shift,” to listen for the bell; thus someone could be “Saved by the Bell,” or was considered “A Dead Ringer.”

And that’s the truth….. Now, whoever said History was boring!!!!

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Ooh you can tell it was written by an american - It makes it sound like our country is stuffed full of coffins under the ground!!

Very interesting though.
My 7 year old son has just thoroughly enjoyed reading all this information, although I did have to tell him not to relay to the whole class and his teacher about the origins of 'p**s poor' lol :D

Thank you! x
I can't help but roll my eyes and hold my head in dispair.
to be fair they havent got as long a history as us have they?
Well they have, it's just not a history shared by most of the present inhabitants! In the UK (rather than "England" - being Welsh the use of England to describe the UK always annoys me :sigh:) we have had plenty of immigrants as well over the centuries but by and large they have assimilated themselves with the indigenous population rather than packed them off into reservations. :D

I'll take those as interesting but with a huge pinch of salt. For example, I always understood "wake" to come from the Saxon meaning "watchful".

Now one odd fact I can explain is why the football season traditionally runs through the winter. In medieval times most villages kept a pig or three and autumn was a pig killing party occasion. Every bit of the pig was used right down to the tongue, trotters and brain. The bladder was inflated and used as an early football for village games with the footie "season" lasting until someone accidentally burst the ball. :D
the US have a longer history than the UK.. :D
the US was formed in 1776 where as the UK wasn't formed until 1801 when ireland joined us.. :) until then it was Great Britain


Mad old Bat with Attitude
I seem to remember having to have a bath in my mothers bath water :eek:. I think it was a throwback to the save water during the war. (this was in the 50's) Horrible scummy water :eek:
I seem to remember having to have a bath in my mothers bath water :eek:. I think it was a throwback to the save water during the war. (this was in the 50's) Horrible scummy water :eek:
I used to share a bath with my brother when he was a toddler for the same reason I think judi. He's 6 years younger than me. Scummy water was the least of my problems. Once he had a poo in the water - he must have been 2 or so. I jumped out pdq and yelled for mum to come and stop him playing with it and I got shouted at for leaving him in there!! :eek::D

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