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London's Venerable Facilities for Gentlemen

04-June-2011 0:00
in Curiosities
by Peter Berthoud

I posted on issues associated with Pimlico's new high-tech pissoir the other day.

In that post I mentioned two far older examples of pissoirs that still exist on the streets of London and I was asked for photos, so here we go.

This first one is at the junction of Regency Place and Horseferry Road.

Pissoir London Regency Place

Pissoir London Regency Place and Horseferry Road.

And for those of you excluded from visiting, by dint of distance, gender or bashfulness, here too is the interior.

Interior of Pissoir Regency Place

Self-flushing is not an issue here, as it was in Pimlico. The little basin empties directly into the trough and effects a very gentle (i.e.completely ineffective) flush. The overly snug facility is free, open 24 hours a day and looks like it has been providing a vital service for well over a century.
Sadly this second example is closed.

Pissoir Star Street London

Pissoir Star Street London

It stands in Star Yard, just off Carey Street behind the Royal Courts of Justice. Of course G.E Street's gothic 1882 masterpiece grabs most of the attention in this part of town but this little structure, of a similar vintage, deserves a look too. It is locked now and hasn't been in service for years but I did manage this glimpse of an inside view through the ventilation grille.

Inside Pissoir Star Street

It seems sad that the current generation of (male) lawyers are being deprived of an atmospheric opportunity to stand in the footsteps of their  forbears. Perhaps the Inns of Court and the Law Society could liaise with Camden Council to instigate a refurbishment?

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