1 April 2013

London's oldest Gents Loos (or so it's claimed)

Sometimes within the rhythm of a normal life, I do find myself in the weirdest places. One afternoon it just happened to be in the (claimed to be) oldest gents toilet in London. (This is not an April fools joke, just random as!) Let me rewind slightly.

After a morning brunching at nearby Ozone, my friends and I said goodbye, and I wandered back towards where I thought the bus stop was. The below beautiful building and courtyard caught my eye, and in I strolled.


So far, so normal. A beautifully reserved Grade 1 listed Georgian building, the Chapel was commissioned and paid for by John Welsey a wealthy philanthropist & credited with founding Methodism. The chapel is open to the public, and really passionate guides who are happy to chat and show you around, look after it. They know all sorts of fascinating stuff about the building, for instance the pillars supporting the gallery were originally ships' masts donated by George III.

As they are close by, the chapel has a close working relationship with two of 'my' Oranges & Lemons Churches; St Giles & St Anne's both beautiful buildings with fantastic architecture.


We roamed around this rather beautiful and immaculately kept church and grounds.

We start chatting about local London history, and with a twinkle in her eye, the guide says "Well, I have a little bit of weird history for you, the Chapel has the oldest Gentleman's Toilets, and I know they're empty and are being cleaned at the moment if you wanted to have a look." How could I say no?!

So off we trot (sorry), and it turns out that the poor gents have to walk outside and down a little flight of uncovered stairs before entering their throne room (sorry again).


It's actually really beautiful, if you can call a wall of Urinals beautiful. What opulent surroundings in which to relieve ones self.

She told me that the flush-toilet was invented by a English gentleman called George Jennings, and revolutionised public sanitation. These particular toilets were designed by the infamous Thomas Crapper and are a "beautiful example of a public convenience" just after Jennings' time, but a style similar to his.



As I walked out I found myself humming "Ooooh I gotta have faith" I couldn't help myself (sorryimnotsorry).

File:Thomas Crapper Toilet Horta Museum Branding.jpg

I never in a million years thought I would be living in London, typing a post on a blog about a men's toilet.

There is also a museum & house you can walk though full of well kept Georgian daily furniture and items.

Only in London.

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