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By Ashleylister @ashleylister
I don’t know about you but when I’m planning a journey to a strange town or city I do like to know where the Castle is, where the theatres are, where the shops are but nowadays I also want to know where the loos are and very few, if any, travel guide pamphlets tell you this vital information. Why not?


Public Inconvenience?

But first of all let’s a have a quick look at why these vital facilities have been drastically reduced in number over the last decade or so. I suppose it’s no surprise that the main reason is that public toilet provision is not mandatory for councils and over the last years of recessions, cuts and austerity they were an easy target. A recent report states that the UK was one of the first countries to put them in, in a systematic way. In another it says that more and more of us are learning to hold it in, especially people like postal workers and lorry drivers. But this is bad for our health. It can exacerbate existing medical problems, to say nothing of the fact that it’s simply not a pleasant sensation when we need to go, and can’t. They are not called a Public Convenience for no reason.

I asked ‘Why not?’ at the end of the first paragraph and that is still true of paper pamphlets. However, I was looking to plan a journey to Leicester not long ago, a place I’d never been to before and I remembered the following sites:The first is called The Great British Toilet Map. You need a smart phone or device for this but the idea is it gives you the map of this country and you can move and hover over the place you are going to or are in and then you enlarge the place and it gives a mark on the actual street map where the toilets are. The project aims to map all publicly-accessible toilets - that means all toilets that the public can access without needing to be a customer.These include:
Public toilets
Train and bus stations
Service stations/shopping centres
Public buildings
Toilets in other buildings where the business agrees that the public can enter.
The second site is called and again you will need access to a smart phone or device but you could download the information from your computer before you go. This site allows you to put in a query about places around the world in the top left corner. I’ve just put in Melbourne and the map of the city streets comes up with all the toilets marked. And there are a lot of them compared to Birmingham.
But what for the future. I want to be able to journey somewhere, anywhere in this country and know that if I need to spend a penny then it will not be a problem. The Royal Society for Public Health put forward a set of proposals back in 2019 to make the provision of public toilets compulsory on a well planned and regulated basis which would include laws, such as in America and Canada, to ensure fair provision for women.


Japanese Public Toilet

So far I have come across individual cities such as Sheffield and Bristol where campaigns have been undertaken to provide toilet facilities but surely a national campaign needs to take place.I find writing haiku difficult. Maybe this works.
closed doors
she walks to the park 
snowdrops weep
Thanks for reading, Terry Q.
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