Thursday 29 January 2009

Toilets on the tourist trail?

Known, understood, but little spoken of... London's celebrated gay past (is that a contradiction?).

Joe Orton is a sell out playwright, but there is a dark story-ending to his glittering ability (he was murdered by his partner) and the much reported court case of Islington Libraries combine with this public toilet in South End Green, Hampstead (picture right and interior below left).

This is the only toilet still in use that Joe Orton is confirmed as having 'used' and so it enjoys something of a touch of notoriety...

The toilet itself is bizarrely pretty and glamorous and reminds me of those at Stoke-on-Trent Railway Hotel - which of course draw on the potteries tradition.

But the wall to ceiling tiling has a dramatic gleaming effect and combined with the black pediments creates an almost gothic victoriana to them.

I have done a note to the Joe Orton website - link above - asking them to reflect North West London in their photo gallery of associated Orton places and features. We shall see what happens, but pop down to South End green and have a look - a brief look.


Anonymous said...

Historical toilets?
Did you know that George Bernard Shaw was responsible for the ladies toilets opposite Camdeb Town tube station?
Way back at the beginning of the 20th century circa 1901, Shaw was an alderman on St Pancras council.
He proposed building some public toilets for women. Outrageous, his fellow aldermen cried! How disgusting, public toilets for women? How revolting!
Well he stuck to his guns and against a lot of opposition the toilets were built and there they still stand today!
Des B.

Anonymous said...

Is this the toilet featured in 'Prick up your ears'?

Anonymous said...

Loot is currently on stage at the trafalgar studios.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Prick Up Your Ears was on at Screen on Baker Street.

The title was displayed on the canopy over the entrance. Anyway, some wag moved the E on "ears" to the end of "ears". Quite funny I thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,
Well I am probably one of your relatives and guess what, my great grandfather founded Fordham toilets, and was also the washboard 'King'. 'Good on ya lad'....not sure about your politics, however I am sure your idealism is in the traditional earmark of members of this family. ...blessings