Harold Place Underground Toilets

From Historical Hastings
View of toilets prior to closure

A Public Convenience in Harold Place. The ground under which the toilets were situated was created circa 1879 when a small terrace called Kentish Buildings was purchased by the Urban Sanitary Authority and demolished. The planned toilets drew letters of complaint from among others, the Directors of the Queens Hotel[1], which led to a delay in the construction of the facilities. As a result, the land was utilised as public gardens for around two decades.

Designed by Horace Ditch, and built in 1901 at a cost of £3260, [2], the underground toilets featured brass fittings and solid marble splashbacks. Above ground there were ornamental gardens and pavilion structures. When the toilets closed circa 1990, the marble was reclaimed and allegedly re-used as panelling in a sauna which could not be used due to the overpowering smell of ammonia from the panels[3].

The replacement toilets were in the form of a mock Roman ​building​ that was constructed on top of a concrete slab covering the underground facility. Following the subsequent demolition of the later conveniences, the site was cleared, however the underground toilets remain as evidenced by photographs taken by Urban Explorers in August 2021[4].


References & Notes

  1. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 09 November 1878 pg. 5
  2. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep ESHER_MES38289
  3. Victoria Murtagh Historical Hastings Facebook
  4. History-Hunters UK: HASTINGS UNDERGROUND VICTORIAN TOILETS – History-Hunters UK, accessdate: 19 December 2021