Growing up in Lincoln in the 1950s you were never far from a public toilet, one of the great legacies of the Victorian age. Going ‘up town’ from the south you passed an ample facility by the South Common, a rather poky men-only facility under Gowts Railway Bridge, toilets in St Mark’s Station and extensive stalls for shoppers in the city centre underneath the High Bridge. Other towns were similar. That era was perhaps a golden age for the public toilet.
Today there are much reduced public facilities, and you often have to pay for what there is. Only one of the above facilities in Lincoln remains.
Other pressures have forced councils to prioritise, and it has often been the free public toilets that have suffered. Yes there are more shops, restaurants and cafés that have facilities for customers, but public provision is much more limited – except in some places where arrangements have been made for free provision by local businesses.
At the end of the day, you just have to go. Public urination is often still to be seen in France, and likely to increase in UK without adequate provision.
It was good to discover that there is a British Toilet Association dedicated to campaigning on this issue, with the particular demand that local authorities at least have a strategy for provision.
When in need, there also appears to be the Great British Public Toilet Map, which should enable you to find the nearest public toilet.
This post was inspired by the BBC News item Public toilets ‘wiped out in parts of UK’.