Above: The derelict building in June 2002.
“A Converted Public Toilet”
Many people live in a two-storey house but there is only one residence in Inner London that was, in its former life, a two-storey convenience. Bearing in mind that the loo conversion stands in Forest Hill, the area is, of course, in the London Borough of ‘Loo-isham’. The residence is also convenient for the train, standing almost opposite Forest Hill Station.
Above: The building during conversion work in 2003.
Its actual location is in the short part of Devonshire Road that forms part of the South Circular Road — at the junction with David’s Road. The toilet block had a men’s toilet that was sunk into the ground, meaning that half the wall of the men’s was below pavement level, with a few stairs leading down to it. At that junction the curved pavement rises quite steeply and access to the ladies’ toilet was from David’s Road into the ladies’ loos built on top of the men’s.
The building was therefore two storey which is probably unusual in itself. It still has ‘Borough of Lewisham’ — meaning the old Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham — inscribed into the large stone ‘band’ on the side of the building. It was originally free standing with a small gap beside it – separating it from the first house of the Victorian terrace in Devonshire Road. To achieve more space in the conversion, the two loo sections were linked by a staircase and an extension was built on the small piece of land alongside.
Above: The completed conversion.
One of the capital’s first ever public WC-turned-homes, it was converted into an open-plan living room and kitchen together with a bedroom area and en-suite bathroom. The final asking price (in 2003) was £135,000.