Wednesday, 10 March 2010

W C Lavatory The Royal Sands Development Ramsgate and the Toilets of Time.

A little story here about how things have gone slightly awry for the chaps digging the trench along harbour parade, it goes something like this.

I contacted them and said something along the lines of, during my research related to Ramsgate history I had consulted the works of Mr W C Lavatory, the well known inventor of the Victorian loo and discovered that there was a large underground one in the path of their trench.

Obviously I was concerned that if they dug into it the whole thing could collapse causing considerable expense at best and at worse this could result in injury.

They replied that they had a radar survey of the site and had consulted with council officer 1k who had looked at the old plans held by the council.

As a result of this the route for the pipe had been modified to avoid them.
As you can see from the picture above they seem to dug right into the middle of them right where the picture from W C lavatory’s famous glide “Great Seats of England For the Inconvenient” shows them, in fact just where I told them that they were.

Click on the link for the rest of the pictures


  1. Any idea why they closed the original toilets? I wondered if there might have been problems with the sea level, but there again there are plenty of other basements in that area.

    Is it a deep hole? Its difficult to tell from your photo.

  2. 12.14 I think you could fill a book with the closed toilets of Ramsgate, as far as flood risk goes the risk here wouldn’t be from the sea level but from wave action and this part of Ramsgate is protected from this by the harbour wall.

    The sewer in this part of Ramsgate is very old and I believe that there were occasionally problems with that but I never remember a severe flood there.

    They weren’t very deep and part of the ceiling was roof lights formed from putting thick blocs of opaque glass into a cast-iron frame.

    The new cobbled surface there that I believe was laid about 25 years ago would have been laid on sand on top of these, I think when the contractors down there caved in the ceiling this must have fallen in the hole, if you click on the link in the post to the rest of the pictures it gives more of an idea.

    One of the things that the Victorians were concerned with was improving public health – Queen Victoria herself contracted cholera when she visited Ramsgate – so the construction and the staffing of adequate and clean toilets with attendants went hand in hand with legislation prohibiting the use of public places.

  3. Have to laugh! The problem, Michael, is that you are just a biblio-bloke and 'shop-assistant' who knows nothing, as far as TDC are concerned.
    The fact that you are a keen local historian and know 'your patch'in Ramsgate inside out, amongst your many other talents, has eluded them!

    Glad they found what you said they would! Doesn't seem to say much about their own 'geo-phys'survey though.
    Reminded of 'Don't dig here, dig it elsewhere. You're digging it round and it oughta be square,.......... You're digging the hole where the hole don't belong."

  4. Don Bertie what I find odd is that the council seem to be very reluctant to reveal anything that relates to this development, that could be a problem for the developer, I am beginning to wonder if they really would go as far as to start building the thing without a flood risk assessment or start boring for piles 4 metres from the cliff, just to see if it collapses on them.

    The trouble is that mistakes like this must cost a great deal of money and a fair amount of the mistakes that have already been made comes out of the TDC budget, I certainly wonder who will be paying for this one.

  5. strange no tdc heritage architect calling a halt to the work so it can be properly inspected, what could the reason for that, to busy inspecting iconic wigwams in vladivodstock or down at the local brew house.

  6. Ramsgate is going down the pan

  7. banal comment warning

    Watch out beloo.

  8. Lots of money used to come out of that hole after a busy weekend.


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