The Victorian Toilet

(Victorian Water Closet)

Victorian Toilet, Rothesay
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Victorian Toilet, Rothesay

An ornate public convenience situated on the West Pier at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, the Victorian Toilet has become a tourist attraction since it reopened in 1994 following a restoration that cost almost £300,000. Sometimes referred to as the Victorian Water Closet, the building was commissioned by Rothesay Harbour Trust in 1899, when Rothesay was reaching its zenith as a holiday resort. It was rescued from neglect to provide an award-winning example of the magnificence of Victorian design. Unfortunately it is only the male toilet which has been able to be restored to its former glory, presumably because females were not catered for in the original design, or that the female toilet had been unsympathetically modernised in the past. Gentleman visitors can now appreciate fine tile-work, marble fittings, polished copper pipework, glass-sided cisterns and a remarkable mosaic floor, which feature the crest of the Royal Burgh of Rothesay at the entrance.

Regarded as the most impressive surviving late Victorian public conveniences in Scotland, if not the United Kingdom, the building was B-listed in 1987. Today, the Toilet is open daily throughout the year and run on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council by Bute Victoriana Ltd, a community business with charitable status.

Still operating as a functional public convenience, the Victorian Toilet also provides facilities for ladies, disabled toilets, shower and baby-changing facilities.

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