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24/02/2021: We Nearly Invented the Toilet!

While it is a matter of public record that patents relating to the flushing toilet were taken out by Thomas and later, his nephew George Crapper in the late 19th century, not a lot is generally known of work in this field that took place at around the same period in workshops rented in the grounds of Farkham Hall.

In 1896, Major Haas De Klinker arrived here from South Africa, many say to avoid the looming Boer War, and started a sanitation business based in a shed rented from my own great grandfather, the 13th Squire Farkham. His expertise led to the creation of what many still believe to be the forerunner of our current ballcock controlled, anti-overflow lavatory flushing system.

In the race to register patents, Major De Klinker was beaten to the punch by George Crapper in 1897, and the rest, as they say is history. The phrase "going for a crap" has been in popular use throughout Britain ever since.

However, locally, with the burgeoning industrial population all needing housing and the increase in social housing through the late 19th and early 20th century, many local buildings were equipped by De Klinker & Co, whose name is still proudly borne on a large number of local lavatory installations. Indeed, we have a number of Major Haas De Klinker cisterns installed at various locations throughout the hall, and we wouldn't be without them.

That is why when you are in the vicinity of the hall, the phrase "going for a crap" is less often used than the numerous alternatives. One reason that local etymologists believe for this continuing popularity is that the De Klinker variants offer more opportunities for expression of scale. In the locality, you can either inform your company that you are simply going "to De Klinker", or that you are going for a "Major De Klinker" or in extreme cases, you may be some time as you need a "Major 'Ass De Klinker".

I would love to tell you more, but owing to a bit of extravagance over the goat and lentil phall in the Jewel in the Passage restaurant last night, I must vacate this seat and go for a "Major 'Ass DeKlinker" myself, somewhat urgently.

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