Daily Mail

Ladies’ lava­to­ries win listed sta­tus

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FROM the vote to equal pay, fem­i­nists have faced many bat­tles. Now one of their more unusual vic­to­ries is to re­ceive of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion.

The 1899 Bank Hill toi­lets in Ber­wick upon Tweed, Northum­ber­land, and the 1904 lava­to­ries on the Se­aburn seafront in Sun­der­land have won Grade II-listed sta­tus as early ex­am­ples of ladies’ loos.

The first pub­lic toi­lets opened in the second half of the 19th cen­tury but were strictly for men only. Vic­to­rian ladies were thought too mod­est to an­swer the call of na­ture away from home.

Some saw the lack of pro­vi­sion as a cyn­i­cal ploy to pre­vent women from stray­ing too far from their houses – a restric­tion known as the ‘uri­nary leash’.

Deb­bie Mays, of His­toric Eng­land, said the toi­lets rep­re­sent the ‘open­ing up of a world of new leisure and work opportunit­ies pre­vi­ously un­avail­able to women.’

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