Public conveniences built c1901.
Reasons for Designation
The public conveniences at Victoria Embankment, built c1901, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: their internal treatment is of a high quality with coloured bands of wall tiling, grey marble wash hand basins and urinals, raised geometric patterns on the ceiling, and mosaic and terrazzo floors, all combining to create rich textural and polychromatic decoration;
* Degree of survival: they have been preserved in a remarkable state of intactness, retaining almost all of their original fixtures and fittings, including the panelled doors, the partitions for the washroom and attendant’s room, the roof lanterns with opening mechanism, and the rows of urinals;
* Group value: they have strong group value with three Grade II listed buildings of a similar date: The Embankment (1905-7), formerly Boots Store No 2, to the north-west; the gateways and screen (c1901-5) at the north end of Victoria Embankment to the south; and Trent Bridge (1868-71) to the east.
The public conveniences were built as part of Victoria Embankment which was constructed by the Nottingham Corporation along the north side of the River Trent between Trent Bridge and Wilford Bridge. Victoria Embankment was designed and constructed by Arthur Brown, the City Engineer, and was opened on 25 July 1901 by Alderman Lambert, who was Chairman of the Public Parks Committee. It is not known whether or not Arthur Brown designed the public conveniences. They are not shown on the Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1901 but they are depicted on the OS map of 1916 adjacent to the Town Arms (1869-71) which was rebuilt by Marriott Ogle Tarbotton, Borough Engineer, and is now known as The Riverbank public house. The public conveniences have been closed since 2006.
Public conveniences built c1901.
MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond with stone dressings and felt roof covering.
PLAN: the public conveniences are situated on the north side of the River Trent in the corner between Victoria Embankment and London Road. The gentlemen’s has a rectangular plan and adjoins The Riverside public house on the north-west side. The ladies’ also has a rectangular plan and is located at the south-west end of the public house.
EXTERIOR: the gentlemen’s is a single-storey building with a lantern running the entire length of the roof which is hidden behind a parapet and now boarded over. The parapet has a stone moulding and it rises into a triangular gable on each gable end. The building has a plinth of blue engineering brick and two stone bands run along the middle. The principal north-west elevation is divided into five bays by Romanesque buttresses. The two end bays slightly project and contain doorways with blocked stone surrounds and jambs, and a moulded stone lintel. The original five-panelled doors survive but have been boarded up.
The ladies’ is similar in design except it has Romanesque buttresses at each end of the principal south-west elevation and a central doorway in a slightly projecting bay. The cast iron rainwater goods survive on both buildings.
INTERIOR: the interior walls of the gentlemen’s are lined with full-height brick-shaped tiles laid in bands of brown, yellow, pale blue and white; and the floor is of grey terrazzo. The wooden ceiling has a raised geometric pattern on either side of the central roof lantern which retains the opening mechanisms. Along the south-east wall there are six cubicles which have dividing walls lined with the same tiles as those already described, and mosaic floors of cream and pale blue with a turquoise and red border. The original five-panelled doors with recessed, moulded panels, have been lined with sheet metal on the outside face. All the joinery is painted brown. The north-west wall is lined with seventeen urinals of dark grey marble with circular plaques bearing the mark of George Jennings Patentee, Palace Wharf, Stangate, Lambeth, London. In the north corner, a panelled partition, which has small rectangular moulded panels along the bottom and large panels at the top, contains the washroom. This has the same mosaic floor as the cubicles and a unit of four circular wash-hand basins with brass taps in a dark grey marble counter, a marble splashback with a wooden shelf above and panelling below. A similar panelled partition in the south corner has glazing along the top and was probably the attendant’s room.
The ladies’ is similarly decorated with the same tiled walls and dark grey marble unit but the floor is a more decorative mosaic of pale blue and cream with a border of turquoise, red and yellow. Six cubicles line the north-east wall and four the south-west wall, all of which retain their original doors. At the south-east end is the attendant’s room and the washroom which has a unit of three basins with mirrors above in a continuous wooden frame. The upper panels in the partition wall have been fitted with glass.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a red brick wall with a plinth of blue engineering brick runs between the north corner of the ladies’ and the south corner of the gentlemen’s. A dwarf wall with stone coping encloses a small area to the west which historic OS maps show was planted as a garden. The walls previously had railings but these have been removed. The small enclosure is entered on the north side through an original iron gate attached to the gentlemen’s.