Not THAT kind of cottaging...
August 20, 2017 10:23 AM   Subscribe

These residences are great, although it is concerning to see public toilets falling by the wayside. Don't be like us here in American cities, having to go into a shop and buy some coffee or Diet Coke to get permission to use the restroom to get rid of the coffee or Diet Coke you got from the last time you needed to use the restroom.

I used to have a job where I was scared to use the one restroom. (I was young, it's a long story.) I would leave by way of Philly's Suburban Station, and the restroom there was both dystopian-level filthy and strangely empty, unless someone was in there having a crisis. But I would have to go there anyway. And I could tell that underneath the darkness and dirt, there was a beautiful Art Deco place, just as the rest of the station was, and just as neglected. The station seems to have been renovated since I left town, but I would be surprised if it were carefully conserved rather than being gutted.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not THAT kind of cottaging...

If I'm spending that much for a converted toilet, it BETTER be that kind of cottage.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

On one hand, these properties are fascinating. The Crystal Palace one was featured on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces which is a good show about teeny living areas, and as somewhere to live in London is pretty amazing.

But yes, it is concerning how much public space has been sold off in general, and toilets in particular. The situation with toilets for the disabled is frequently appalling.

In the small town my family live in (which gets a reasonable number of tourists) the only toilet which is free to use is in the supermarket.
posted by threetwentytwo at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Manchester also has The Temple, which I was told (but can't find links to back up right now) was where Alan Turing was arrested. I drank a pint there in his honour regardless of the veracity of the story.
posted by bouvin at 11:44 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sidestepping the selling off of public amenities, which, assuming they're not being suitably replaced (caveat: u, me, ass, though Tories will Tory) is appalling...

Maybe this is just because I live in Canada, where the real estate bubble refuses to burst, but £330,000 doesn't seem at all "staggering" for a home, no matter how small or ammonia-reeking, with a sea view, let alone sea frontage. That's roughly $550,000 Canadian dollars. Average price for a house in Ontario is $517,000. It'd get you an unremarkable 1970s shitbox in the rundown part of nowheresville. (It's horrendous. I don't recommend it.) £330,000 for that, there, "staggering"? Bless your heart. When can I move in?

And, I mean, 16% gross profit is not all that great of a flip. It was bought as a rundown toilet and is being sold as an eminently rentable chic little holiday home. How much money went into that conversion? Could 16% possibly even break even?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Manchester also has The Temple, which I was told (but can't find links to back up right now) was where Alan Turing was arrested.

Turing was arrested when he went to the police after suspecting he'd been burgled by someone he slept with.
posted by hoyland at 12:13 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's not that clear in the link, but the current seller is not the one who flipped the toilet block into houses. They bought it last year for £285k. The developer, who bought the block in 2012, paid 68K for both. A 16% rise in a year for probably no work is pretty impressive. £330K does seem steep for outside London (albeit inside the M25), especially as looking at the property listing, it's only got two rooms, plus two small bathrooms (also it's in Surrey, not by the sea).
posted by featherboa at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

(also it's in Surrey, not by the sea).

Dangit, Yahoo News! Ending the article with a picture of an unrelated property does not sit well with my ADHD.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think that I speak for most Americans when I ask, "what's a public toilet?"
posted by octothorpe at 1:23 PM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

That dirty grout between the white tiles from the original bathroom makes me scream "hell no!" to this whole idea. Let's be real, that's poop stains.
posted by Toddles at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm glad I'm not the only one sad that the Crystal Palace urinals were unable to be saved.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:51 PM on August 20, 2017

Goodness, there are loads of these. I did not know it was a thing. There are two for sale in Orkney (Kirkwall and Burwick). And a posh-looking one in Weymouth sold recently for £282k, though to be fair it is attached to a four-bedroom flat (good picture in this announcement, more details and people unhappy in comments in this article). There are cheaper ones in Newcastle Emlyn, £10k but already under offer.

Our local loos have been closed - council said closing 3 loos would save them £60k a year, which seems a lot. The cleaner gave an interview to the local paper saying the closures are a result of mess, vandalism and drug use. They are replacing them with automated one-person ones. I shall now email the council to see what their plans are for the loo building, and also the closed housing offices opposite it.

Also found the Great British Public Toilet Map, created by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA, based on open data. It links to a reading list.
posted by paduasoy at 2:32 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

My mate in Ewell says it's stunt pricing, the loo is "right by the bus stop on the main road with absolutely no outside space. There are much nicer, much more spacious 1 bed mews houses just around the corner." For nose-powdering in that corner of Surrey I totally recommend the bogs in Epsom Wetherspoons just down the road - just don't buy owt there!
posted by runincircles at 7:57 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, I've walked by the Crystal Palace loos/tiny home many times; it's right on the main road, and there's a bus turnaround across the street where buses are always idling or coming and going. It's at a very busy junction with a lot of foot traffic.

Adorable though it must be inside, I'd be feeling twitchy every time I heard raised voices on the street. And how does she keep people from trying to climb over her gate or throw things down the lightwell?
posted by vickyverky at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2017

In the Crystal Palace apartment... why do none of the shoes have a pair? Surely she isn't just using them as decoration?
posted by tavella at 6:31 PM on August 21, 2017

And then there is The Attendant in London...
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 5:24 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

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