Our public loos are crumbling - and with them, our civilisation - by Jane Shilling for the Telegraph

Not one for general publication, but nonetheless of interest to those of us 'caught short' when out and about. We report on the widespread closure of public conveniences across the country which is fast becoming a deterrent to leaving the house at all.


Since 2015, the number maintained by local authorities has fallen from 3154 to 2556 and since Covid the situation has inevitably deteriorated.


As ever, we could probably learn from our Victorian forebears as Jane Shilling explains:


"The name of George Jennings is not much remembered nowadays. Yet as statues of tainted historical figures topple, someone should erect a monument to the man who designed Britain’s first public lavatory. Installed to relieve visitors to the Great Exhibition of 1851, the lavatories offered clean facilities, a towel, comb and shoe-shine for a penny. The conveniences proved vastly successful, and Jennings went on to sanitary glory, installing bathroom fittings for the Khedive of Egypt and Empress Eugenie, and receiving a medal from Prince Albert, who keenly encouraged his wholesome innovations.


Jennings observed that “the civilisation of a people can be measured by their domestic and sanitary appliances”. It is a sentiment that should be emblazoned in large, gilt letters on every seat of local and national government, for the dismal fact is that across the UK, public lavatories are in headlong decline. Since 2015, the number maintained by local authorities has fallen from 3154 to 2556.


The effect, as the Royal Society for Public Health pointed out in a 2019 report, is to impose a “urinary leash” on people who feel wary of venturing far from home for fear of a lack of public loos. Also on the rise is the revolting phenomenon of “wild toileting”, which increased during the pandemic, as people flocked to parks and the countryside, and the remaining public lavatories were closed."


The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:



Jane Shilling for the Telegraph - Our public loos are crumbling - and with them^J our civ
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Award winning loos: The Cistern Chapel of Hull

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