Landmark public toilets in Newcastle which have given relief to generations of Geordie gentlemen are being put up for sale.
Prospective buyers will need to spend more than a penny when the toilets in the Bigg Market go on the market.
For more than a century men caught short have been paying a visit to the subterranean structure in Newcastle’s Bigg Market.
But the toilets which closed in April due to access problems can now look forward to a new lease of life after Newcastle City Council decided to sell them off.
The council believes the locally listed loos could become a shop, a bar, a takeaway, an advice centre, a restaurant or even an art gallery.
Cabinet member for Quality of Life, Coun Henri Murison, said: “The toilets in the Bigg Market have been a familiar landmark for generations and been used for over 100 years.
“However, due to the cost of keeping them open and the fact that they can only be reached down a flight of stairs, we closed them in April and decided to put them on the market. As the building has been in existence for 114 years we believe it has great potential for other uses.
“We would like to hear from anyone who has an imaginative and creative use for them.”
The detached circular property was constructed in 1898 as an underground public toilet. It has one entrance and is reached by a staircase. It has a metal framed domed glass roof with ventilation tower and is surrounded by walled railings.
It boasts 18 urinals, five cubicles, a cupboard and tiled walls and floor.
It is closing as the council - which faces huge financial pressures - can no longer afford to keep them open. However, a number of public toilets remain open across the city centre.
Bidders are recommended to consider the practicalities of their proposals and talk to the council about issues such as refuse storage, extraction system and possible impact on the area.
The marketing brochure states: “The building is locally listed and makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Central Conservation Area.”
Subterranean toilets in other parts of the country that have been successfully converted include: The Temple bar - reputedly Manchester’s smallest bar, and Crystal Palace underground toilets converted to a one-bed house.
For further details on the Bigg Market toilets, interested parties should contact the council’s Property and Asset Management section on 0191 211 5542.
Due to financial pressures, low usage and access problems, three toilets in the city centre closed in April this year - at the Bigg Market, Barrack Road and Sidgate Eldon Square. Five modular conveniences will close later in the year to save £100,000.
Public conveniences which remain open include those in Grainger Town car park, Eldon Garden car park, Dean Street car park and the Grainger Market.
In addition, the Use Our Loos scheme was launched last year in which businesses throw open their toilets for the public's convenience. This was in response to demand for wider public toilet provision.
Page last updated: 8 August, 2012