At Your Convenience: A Lavatorial Walking Tour
The Cellar Door
This was once the most infamous gents in theatre land! This former toilet alleges to have been the former haunt of the likes of Oscar Wilde, Jo Orton and John Guilgud… and other male theatricals who would come cruising. Wilde carried on his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas not too far away in the Savoy hotel. He was later tried and prosecuted for “Gross Indecency.” Guilgud’s career came to a temporary standstill in 1953 when he was arrested in a Kensington toilet.
This space now plays host to a different sort of deviant activity, and is one of London’s most unusual Cocktail and Cabaret bars. It was converted in 2006, leading the trend of making use of these underground spaces.
In addition to being in a former toilet this bar has amazing toilets of its own. The doors are completely clear, until you lock them, at which point they frost over. One of the great joys in life is watching people who don’t know what they are in for heading back to the toilets and looking in horror at the doors.
Toilets have changed dramatically over the past century, and are likely to continue to do so. They come and go and turn into other things moving with cultural attitudes, priorities and taboos. But no matter what the era they always have and always will contain fascinating stories for those brave enough to lift the lid.
This is where I leave you for today.
If you want to get back to where we started cross Waterloo Bridge back to the Royal Festival Hall. Or stay and have a cocktail in the Cellar Door. It’s well worth the experience! And don’t forget to visit the loos… whether you need it or not!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour.
You can find out more about this and other Loo Tours projects at lootours.com or on twitter @londonlootours.
Our theme was composed by Paul Freeman and played by Julie Groves and Nadia Wilson.
We would like to thank the many generous backers who gave their support to make this project happen: Particular thanks to:
Myles de Bastion
WC Wine & Charcuterie in Clapham Common
And, of course, thanks to our sponsors Thomas Crapper and Company.
I’m the Loo Lady.