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London toilet tour offers tourists a guide to quirky loos!31st of July 2014
There's no need to worry about being caught short on a new walking tour of London. The London Loo Tour takes tourists around a selection of the city's quirkiest WCs.
The tour starts at the toilets by platform 19 at WaterLOO Station and can accommodate up to 20 guests. It's organised by American guide Rachel Erickson and each one is full of unusual and little-known facts like brief histories on how the Romans managed their toilet, and the plumber who founded one of London's early sanitary engineering companies, Thomas Crapper and Co.
Walkers visit such locations as the patriotic 'Juba-loos' on the River Thames. Built for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and designed by architect Mark Power, the toilet costs 50p to use and has full-time attendants in Union Jack waistcoats. It also makes use of rainwater to flush toilets and wash floors.
Next are the day urinals for men and pop-up urinals in Charing Cross.
Just around the corner outside Embankment Garden is the mysterious Urilift - one of three urinals provided by Westminster that rise up from the ground in the evenings to offer an alternative option for late-night male revellers. It contributes to keeping 10,000 gallons of wee off the streets of Westminster, explains Erickson.
Another, more permanent example of a street urinal is the Butterfly outside Charing Cross Station. Its slick stainless steel design aims to please, with a view to prevent men weeing on the street - albeit with minimal privacy.
The guide has a wealth of stories about the history of public conveniences, for example the difficulties of providing public conveniences for women in the Victorian Era.
Female toilets were highly controversial, indeed many people thought they were an ‘abomination' and they were often used by flower girls cleaning their watercress apparently. The most successful were the ones that were discreetly located underground.
So if you happen to be in London in search of a little of the local culture, visit www.lootours.com