Sunday, 29 July 2012

Chalets de Nécessité

Chalets de Toilette et de Nécessité 

On the 5th March 1880, Mr. Watkyns applied to your Board for permission to erect certain chalets for the convenience of men and women in the public ways of your district. The chalets as proposed were to be of the following dimensions, viz, 20 feet long, 12 feet wide and 13 feet 9 inches high to the ridge of roof; they were to be divided into two compartments with a separate entrance at each end, one end being for the use of men, and the other for women; each compartment was to contain 4 WCs, a dressing room and lavatories. On one side of the chalet a kiosqque for the sale of newspapers and periodicals was proposed, it was to be in the form of a bay, 5 feet in length.
     The promoter Mr. Watkyns proposed that the Board should grant him a concession for the erection of one or more chalets for a term of thirty years, the concessionaire to pay the Boarrd a rent of £10 per annum for each chalet erected within the district.. He is to be allowed to charge persons using the chalet three-half pencfe each for the use of the WCs and one penny each for the use of the lavatory and dressing room. At the expiration of the thirty years the chalets to become the property of the Board without payment. The proposal was fully considered by your Board who had skeleton models erected ... 

The Board of St. Giles District Board of Works, possibly on the grounds that the 'chalets' were too large and liable to block the pavements, declined the offer (the scale models had been made to assess the impact of the chalet's dimensions on streets). Alfred Watkyns himself blamed 'local factions' in the Vestries, who took against his scheme. Urinals were common in this period, so this wasn't a big problem for the Vestry's members [no pun intended, cough]. Meanwhile, ladies had to just cross their legs.

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