Found objects: cesspit?

While digging a ‘soak-away’ in the garden last year, the builders came across a dome-shaped brick-built structure underground


I dug a little further, finding a hole in the wall and was a little shocked to find this inside


Room enough for my camera to fit inside, I took a couple of photos and was amazed how to see the dome shape so clearly

IMG_0390   IMG_0393

Making stained glass as I do I had visions of it being a kiln but further research made me think otherwise. It’s quite a beautiful structure for a toilet, but I expect it was built in a dome shape for practical reasons, to provide strength of structure.

We came across a much larger underground dome last week across the river from Brentford at Kew Gardens, this was an ice house but quite similar in its make up (and without the drain pipes).

Has anyone come across anything like this in their garden?


5 thoughts on “Found objects: cesspit?

    • Hello, many thanks for commenting, I haven’t looked at this for a while. It is something similar, I believe it’s a cesspit. When our little house was built, around 1850, this was used as the toilet. A fine and grand underground structure, set some distance away in the garden. Sand was poured on top after each use and I imagine on the last occasion the bucket was thrown in as well, only to be found by me over a hundred years later!

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