The Loo With A Royal View

There aren’t many loos that people would stand in amazement and awe at.

However, as of late, a historic loo with a view has been unveiled, thanks to the rescue and restoration of some keen historians and architects. While loos may not be the most elegant or interesting of topics, the history of the toilet is actually quite remarkable!

The Victorian outdoor toilet has been described as a ‘rare surviving example of gentrified decorate garden privy’ and can be found elegantly situated in the gardens of Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire. More intriguing however, is the fact that the toilet itself holds more historical prowess than the mansion in which is resides in.

Its Design

Quaint orange brickwork surrounds this elegant toilet, though much of its true beauty had seen vines and ivy swarm it over the years. Since being restored by English Heritage, it is now relishing its past beauty. A vast array of beautiful shrubbery surrounds the loo, including strongly scented orange blossoms, roses and scented geranium.

The Mansion

Built in 1861, the mansion was a testament to some of the most beautiful architectur e of the era. Considering its era, the mansion’s plumbing system was of the highest quality, with nine flushing toilets for the family and staff. However, the garden toilet was strictly reserved for family and visitors, unfortunately, the staff working within the 8 hectares had to make do with the remaining 9 flushing toilets.

Though, there was no running water to the building, so servants were given the daily task of emptying the bucket the wooden bench within the garden. The soil, which they aptly named ‘night soil’ served as a fertiliser to the surroundings laws and plant beds.

The current head gardener, Daniel Hale, stated that:

“Interesting buildings come in all shapes and sizes. Toilets may not be glamorous, but they can be a fascinating source of social history. This privy sheds a light on the Victorians’ love of gardens. Lost for years under ivy, we’re delighted to have rescued this lovely loo and share its story with visitors – although we’d ask them not to get too familiar with it.”

Other Famous Loos

This 1861 Victorian loo definitely ranks among the most prestigious loos currently in full function, though there are some other quirky and ‘wonderful’ loos.

The First Flushing Toilet

Despite Sir John Harrington being a poet, he was in fact more famously known for something slightly more vulgar. He was the first person to invent the flushing toilet! He named his innovative invention Ajax, and when the Queen herself tried it, she was so impressed that she actually ordered one for herself.

Thomas Crapper’s Toilet

What a fantastic name.

Thomas Crapper is incorrectly understood to be the man who invented the first flushing toilet. Crapper, in fact, only increased its popularity and developed some well-received changes to the original design, such as the ball cock (an automatic valve).

Crapper launched his own company in 1861, though, there is no direct link between his name and the colloquialism.

Fountain – Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp was almost unintentionally, the inventor of the urinal. Marcel’s 1917 urinal was originally intended as art, and was referred to as ‘readymades’ which was essentially produced from objects that already existed. The final project has been compared to the head of the classic Renaissance Madonna, and to a seated Buddha.

And they say toilets can’t be elegant?

Are there any fun or strange facts about loos that you know of? Probably not, but if you do, feel free to enlighten me in the comments below!

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.

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