GENTLEMEN'S PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AT BROMLEY-BY-BOW ADJACENT TO STATUE OF WE GLADSTONE

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1392968
Date first listed:
28-Oct-2008
Statutory Address:
GENTLEMEN'S PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AT BROMLEY-BY-BOW ADJACENT TO STATUE OF WE GLADSTONE, BOW ROAD

Map

Ordnance survey map of GENTLEMEN'S PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AT BROMLEY-BY-BOW ADJACENT TO STATUE OF WE GLADSTONE
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Location

Statutory Address:
GENTLEMEN'S PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AT BROMLEY-BY-BOW ADJACENT TO STATUE OF WE GLADSTONE, BOW ROAD

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 37591 82916

Reasons for Designation

The gentlemen's WC at Bow Church is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * it is attractively designed and relatively intact, with a tiled interior and handsome railings bearing the initals of WE Gladstone at street level; * it is decorated with a number of high quality materials, including granite, marble and terrazzo; * the surviving makers' mark roundels, identifying the manufacturers as George Jennings of Lambeth, the firm established by the eponymous pioneering figure in public sanitation technology adds interest; * it has group value as part of a significant historic townscape, including the medieval church of St Mary and the statue of WE Gladstone, which are listed at Grade II* and II respectively.

Details



788/0/10241 BOW ROAD 28-OCT-08 Gentlemen's Public Convenience at Brom ley-by-Bow adjacent to statue of WE Gl adstone

GV II Gentlemen's public convenience, 1899, by Poplar Board of Works. Some later modifications. The later ladies' conveniences are not included in the listing.

The gentlemen's WC is below street level, identified by decorative iron railings and cast-iron gates at ground level. The railings have scroll panels, pointed railheads, cusped pyramidal post heads, and the initals 'WEG' in the centre. The gates are similarly ornate, having scrolled tops. The railings bound a crescent shaped space, with gates at both ends where two flights of stairs descend to a central entrance to the WC. The walls are lined with white glazed bricks and there is a foundation stone announcing that the amenity was 'CONSTRUCTED BY / THE BOARD OF WORKS / FOR THE / POPLAR DISTRICT / OPENED 1899'. The original handrail to the stairs survives, leading down through an opening with pink granite lintel to the WC. The interior walls are lined with glazed, cream/beige bricks to dado level and white above, with two green glazed brick courses at dado height, and the floor is terrazzo. The triangular shaped chamber is lit by a skylight in its furthest corner, but there is evidence that electric lighting was also provided in each of the six cubicles that line the right hand side of the room; these are divided by partitions in a classical design. They are heavily painted but appear, where the paint has peeled away, to have a marble veneer. The cubicle doors and toilets have been removed. Lining the left hand side of the room is a row of russet marble urinals, the originals, bearing their makers' mark (George Jennings, of Palace Wharf, Lambeth) on both the porcelain and in a roundel which also bears the royal arms. Near the entrance is a partitioned section where formerly there would have been washbasins or an attendant's room.

HISTORY: There are records which suggest there was a public lavatory in London in the C15, but the majority of historic WCs date from the last quarter of the C19 when advances in sanitary science and engineering coincided with the formation of municipal governments capable of funding civic improvements. These WCs date from 1899. They were designed to fit around the statue of WE Gladstone, erected on the site in 1881, and the iron railings bear his initals in the central round section of ironwork. The urinals were manufactured by George Jennings (1810-1882), who invented the wash-out design of toilet. Establishing a company at Palace Wharf, Lambeth in 1838, Jennings was the first to apply new sanitary designs to public conveniences. He introduced his ideas at the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in 1851 and over 800,000 visitors paid to use this facility, from where the euphemism 'spend a penny' is derived. By the close of the C19, Jennings' format for basement public WCs had been introduced by reforming municipal authorities in cities and towns across the country. Although fittings in many of the listed WCs may have been manufactured by Jennings, none is recorded as having any in the list descriptions and many are likely to have been replaced in the C20.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The gentlemen's WC is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * it is attractive and relatively intact, with a tiled interior and handsome railings bearing the initals of WE Gladstone at street level; * it is decorated with a number of high quality materials, including granite, marble and terrazzo; * the surviving makers' mark roundels, identifying the manufacturers as George Jennings of Lambeth, the firm established by the eponymous pioneering figure in public sanitation technology adds interest; * it has group value as part of a significant historic townscape, including the medieval church of St Mary and the statue of WE Gladstone, which are listed at Grade II* and II respectively.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
504927
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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