chester sinks

Sometimes I can get very involved in my lavatorial sleuthing, and will lurk in cubicles for hours at a time as other ladies go about their sometimes fascinating business, waiting for the coast to be clear for risky angle photography and hand-dryer experiments that verge on radical science!

On my visit to the Chester Beatty bogs, I was held up by two separate ladies for a total of about 13 minutes as they both went about very strange rituals at the sinks. The first was a young Spanish woman, who after washing her hands, continued to make numerous invisible adjustments to her hairstyle. It was very odd as she had that kind of very slicked back unmovable ponytail thing going on, held up with the inevitable orange scrunchy (shudder). There was some kind of product keeping the scraped back hair in shiny raked neatness and keeping the loose curls at the back impossibly crisp. She also had those two loose strands at the front that were so inexplicably popular at my secondary school in the late 90s.

So, as I was saying, after washing her hands she started making slight adjustments, tweaking individual curls, pressing down the already rock solid hair on her crown, fingering and twisting the frontal strands framing her neanderthal brow, and without making ant noticeable difference to her appearance she continued doing this for over 5 minutes!

When she finally buggered off I finally made my move to escape the cubicle and take the photo seen above, but was instantly thwarted by a second lady who flushed and made it to the sink seconds before me. I maintained my hiding place as Lady number two washed her hands. Now, this one appeared to be older, and less vain than her predecessor, she was maybe in her 50s, and sensibly dressed for a peaceful morning enjoying Oriental art. After drying her hands, she started to leave. I thought I was safe, but no! She caught her reflection in the mirror, took a second closer glance at her fringe, frowned and ruffled her hair thoughtfully, and then began a long process of pulling out her individual grey hairs over the sink.

SILLY WOMEN! I was stuck in my cubicle for further precious minutes, but finally did get out and took the following pictures and came to the following conclusions:

beatty bog

The Chester Beatty Toilets are lovely, they have a very simple deep red and white colour scheme, keeping it classic without being too plain or clinical.

ches mirrorstrange stain

A generous variety of mirrors, although far too tempting for the hair-vain lady unfortunately. But what is this! a freakishly circular stain on a ceiling tile! (by the way, I despise ceiling tiles, minus a million points Mr Beatty) but what could have made that stain? my mind is swimming with theories. An impressively aimed urination? a hair-gel explosion? maybe someone dropped a Goodfellas pizza on to the top of the tile and the grease seeped through? I’d love to hear your suggestions, why not send me some!

So that’s the Chester Beatty Library bogs. Well worth a visit, and why not stay for a gander round the arty historial stuff too? You might even learn something to distract you from your own hair…

Thank you.

This attractive yet distracted Lady is welcoming you to the Bernard Shaw bogs. Come on in…

And here inside is her lively alter-ego, ready to observe you in quiet excitement as you go about your toilet business.

I love the dubious cocktail of artistic bathroom styles going on in the Bernard Shaw Ladies. You have the old school dark wood and stained glass, massive professional graffiti, twee flowery tiles and shitloads of amateur biro graffiti all over the top of it!

Rubber/sanitary protection machine, very handy, and clearly stealable giant toilet rolls! Though I wouldn’t steal from the Bernard Shaw as I like the place and it isn’t a rip off, I only use my five finger discount in very disappointing and/or ludicrously overpriced places.

Above is some proof of the rich variety of custom the Bernard Shaw receives. A Proust quote alongside ‘Spice Love’, the filthy ‘Would you like to come inside me??’, ‘Go Wild’ (why not?) and the enterprising ‘Aidy Lady’ who has left her (or his..) tag on every cubicle!

So, I conclude that the Bernard Shaw bogs are well worth a visit, in fact the whole place is well worth visiting. A lovely setting for a quiet early evening pint, or 10 loud pints and a bit of a dance if you like, and when you go to break the seal you can read a wealth of drunken ramblings on your cubicle door.


Another lavatory I could happily live in. The Gresham provides effortlessly stylish sanctuary and comfort for even the fussiest of buttocks (Tyra Banks might even break her hovering rule for this place).

The cubicles are solid and well made in frosted glass and wood, and the wealth of spotless mirrors makes the place seem huge and sparkley. They have the balance of classic design and modern innovation down with unusual bowl shaped sinks, tasteful big plain tiles and stunning lighting.

Unlike in some fancy hotels, these toilets are luxurious in a modest way. There are no toilet attendants to listen in on your bottom burps and then awkwardly ply you with warm towels, foul-smelling hand creams and niceties.

And you don’t feel too guilty for being a tress-passing non-resident who probably couldn’t even afford a fizzy pop from the mini-bar

ooh! nice comfy chair!

ooh! comfy chair! don't mind if I do.

Although I will mainly review public toilets, there are one or two private water closets I have come across which I think are totally special and in need of recognition. Look at this one! the gold candle thingies! gorgeous! and note the collection of lavatory literature behind the toilet. 10 points! I am very much into having something to read while i’m doing my business. Especially books of fun facts like the Schott’s Miscellany books and those great mini books you get in your stocking at Christmas… or at least I always get them. (yes i’m in my 20s and still get a stocking, my mum is ace) I have a full dwarf’s library in my WC.

This toilet is in the house of some lovely friends of mine, who shall remain nameless.. and I bloody love it! It is tasteful, classic and unique, and the colour scheme is simple but striking. Easily done in a world of magnolia but still much appreciated. The real attraction is the main bathroom, which is thoughtfully separate from the actually toilet. Really handy for weak bladdered people who share houses with people who like to take long baths. Here is the main bathroom:

Nice huh! I love the indigo blue cupboards and the lovely Victorian tub, and the fireplace! A fireplace in a bathroom! To me this is the epitome of luxury.

And a seperate spacious shower. Great! I also really like the sink tiles, like crazy paving on your wall. They also have one of those magnifying mirrors that allows you to see your own facial pores in detail.. Fascinating and gross all at the same time.

So congratulations anonymous, yet valued friends. I love your loo.

Rather dissapointing i’m afraid. The Central Hotel toilets are totally bland and uninspiring. Not even a thrush poster for excitement. They don’t seem very well maintained, the decor is a bit rubbish, in a kind of ‘we tried to be classy and then ran out of money’ kind of way. As you can see in the photo above, the toilet seat has that dangerous slightly wonky quality, where there is a risk of it sliding out of place from under your buttocks and leaving you unbalanced midstream! Risk!

Despite the soulessness, it does have good chunky walls and doors (therefore good for a dump) and my cubicle had two toilet roll dispensers, hooray!

p.s. If this reaches anyone from the Central Hotel, i’ll let your yawn inspiring lavatories slide if you just please PLEASE turn off the awful radio playing in the library bar. Or at least switch it to Lyric fm or something inoffensive and inkeeping with the nice vibe of the room. I can’t stand having to listen to badly amplified pop shite when i’m trying to enjoy my tea and scones of an afternoon. And I really like having tea at the Central Hotel… i’m so uncool.

It is a shame and a blessing that the IFI toilets are so easily accessible to the public. They have saved me on many a Saturday when I have overdone it on fajitas at the organic market next door, but they are sadly abused by less respectful citizens than myself, resulting in common clumsy graffiti and elusive toilet seats. Despite this, they are pretty well maintained and very pleasant toilets to be in.The decor is plainly tasteful and the cubicles are of the solid floor-to-ceiling type which are a boon for those of us who do not wish to share the sound of our poo-plop with others. I personally like to keep this little aural treat purely for my own enjoyment.

I have been told by male friends of mine, that although the urinals are free to anyone in the IFI, to use a cubicle in the Gent’s, you have to acquire a key from the bar staff. Therefore letting them know that you’re off to have a poo.. or a wank.. or..ooh! the possibilities are endless.

So, overall the ladies conveniences in the IFI are pretty decent. I especially like the marbley sinks and the two level ceiling that includes a really attractive window (photo below). Just look out for silly queues in the evenings and try and get a toilet bowl with a seat on it.

Thank you.