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Public Urinal

A Grade II Listed Building in Clifton Down, City of Bristol

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Latitude: 51.4709 / 51°28'15"N

Longitude: -2.6154 / 2°36'55"W

OS Eastings: 357351

OS Northings: 174835

OS Grid: ST573748

Mapcode National: GBR C3C.HL

Mapcode Global: VH88M.M968

Entry Name: Public Urinal

Listing Date: 11 December 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1422607

Location: Bristol, BS8

County: City of Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Clifton Down

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bristol

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bristol

Church of England Parish: Clifton All Saints with St John

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

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A public urinal of 1880s date, manufactured by W. MacFarlane & Co. Ltd, and moved to its current location in 1903/4.


A public urinal of 1880s date, manufactured by W. MacFarlane & Co. Ltd’s Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, and moved to its current location in 1903/4.

DESCRIPTION: a rectangular cast-iron structure with square entrance screens to both (north and south) entrances. It is constructed of a slender iron frame with decorative panels that are on a geometric, Moorish-style theme. The upper panels have ventilation slits. The upper iron frame has a saw-tooth detail. The hipped roof is a glazed cast-iron structure built in two tiers. Sited on a slight slope, the north end is set in the concrete pavement while the sides and south end stand on chamfered stone blocks. The entrances have a concrete step (shallower at the north end). The two rows of bowed urinal units are porcelain with curved metal ‘modesty’ screens between them at chest level. The floor by the urinals is covered in modern tiles.


The urinal dates from the 1880s, around the same time other urinals were installed in the city, including at Horfield Common (qv) and St Agnes' Park (qv). This example was originally located on the highway junction to the south, at the top of what was then called Black Boy Hill. It is not shown on the map of 1883, by which date the Prince of Wales’s Fountain had been erected close by. However, the urinal is shown next to the fountain on a photograph of 1886, and both are marked on the 1903 map. When the Reverend Urijah Rees Thomas Memorial Fountain (listed at Grade II) was erected on the green to the north, the earlier fountain was presumably removed and the urinal moved to its current position, further north towards St John’s Parochial School (listed at Grade II). The urinal and drinking fountain are shown on a postcard sent in 1904, and on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1916. In 2014, the urinal is still in use as a public convenience.

Reasons for Listing

The Public Urinal at the junction of Whiteladies Road and Westbury Road, Bristol is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historical Interest: this early public convenience structure illustrates the growth of the Bristol suburbs in the late-C19 and the facilities provided by the local authorities in order to foster the genteel middle-class environment to which they aspired. The relocation of the structure to its current site is an historic change illustrating the changing needs of the area;
* Architectural Interest: a relatively elegant, if largely utilitarian, design for a structure of this type. Well made by the prolific MacFarlane Foundry of Glasgow
* Intactness: although the roof covering is modern, the majority of the structure remains intact;
* Rarity: examples of individually-designed public urinals of this date are vulnerable to change or removal and, as a result, increasingly rare;
* Group Value: the structure forms a group with the Reverend Urijah Rees Thomas Memorial Fountain and St John’s Parochial School (both listed at Grade II).

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