Paul Gibson’s Hull and East Yorkshire History

Public toilets in Hull — picture gallery

Here are a few images of the sort of toilets that stood on Hull's streets from my own image collection - some long gone and others only just. By their very nature they aren't the sort of things that have been photographed much. Some early photographs were made by the Council when new facilities were erected and some creep into the corner of old Edwardian postcard views - but not many, as they were far too discrete to show such items. 

Later brick-built ones survived until very recently, and it was these that Chris Ketchell and I scrambled around in 1996-97 trying to record as the Council began removing them en-masse (from 1995). The Hull Daily Mail reported in January 1995 that toilets in West Hull were to close due to improper behaviour by some users. This resulted in the closure of toilets at Anlaby Park and on the Anlaby Road. Others scheduled for closure and/or demolition in 1994 were the toilets at Garden Village, Ellerburn Avenue and Savoy Road. By March 1997 the list had been extended to include those at Chanterlands Avenue, Fountain Road, Cleveland Street, Clarence Street, Walton Street and Scott Street Bridge. Others, described by the council as the 'least used and most abused' were those at Temple Street, Shannon Road and Bishop Alcock Road.

It was a fun task taking photographs that sunny summer, but we sure got a lot of funny looks creeping around Gents urinals with cameras and clip-boards. I'm glad we did however, as the few captured here may well have been the last images before they disappeared forever. Other locations, which I sadly don't have images of yet (although they may be in the new History Centre) include: -

Adelaide Street

Alfred Gelder Street (near Drypool Bridge) shown on 1949 O/S

Anlaby Road – north side of level crossing near Cricket Ground

Beverley Road - near the Petrol Station before Greenwood Avenue

Bishop Alcock Road

Boulevard – Chris K used to talk of an underground toilet near the Hessle Road junction?

Charlotte Street Mews north-west on 1889 O/S and south-west end construction noted in 1893 minutes (iron) Survived into the 1960s as a cast iron facility.

Clough Road - adjoining the old Cleansing depot

Craven Street / Newbridge Road - brick built urinal near the steps to the overhead railway bridge, survived into the 1970s (1980s?)

Dansom Lane (Recreation Ground) not on 1889 but on 1908 and 1928

Division Road – south east corner – marked as ‘Latrine’ on 1928 O/S

Earles Road - survived as a cast-iron structure into the 1960s

Ellerburn Avenue

Garden Village - The Oval - Ian Chubbock recalls a urinal there that he used on his paper round - so late 1970s early 1980s.

Hedon Road opposite Hotham Street beneath railway bridge

Hedon Road north side opposite New Inn not on 1928 but on 1950

Hedon Road south side opposite Craven Street on 1908 and 1928

Hessle Road south side adjoining the Lily Hotel in 1895 minutes

Holderness Road - East Park - large toilet block (1950s?) replaced by a single 'superloo' now removed?

Holderness Road near Hull & Barnsley Railway Bridge (was this Craven Street?) in 1895 minutes

Humber Street

Inglemire Lane - near Marton Grove

Lime Street south-west side on 1928 O/S

Maybury Road brick built urinal - survived into the 1980s (1990s?)

Monument Bridge – mentioned as ‘gone’ in 1875

North Bridge - west side - constructed in 1964

Paragon Station - urinals marked on 1853

Paragon Street ‘Theatre’ toilets mentioned in 1875 – was this a facility on South Street that shows on 1889 O/S?

Pearson Park opposite gates on 1908 but not on 1889

Preston Road - at the side of the dual carriageway I think - near Holderness Drain, me and Chris looked but it had gone in the late 1990s

Ropery Street - in 1876 corporation minutes

Savoy Road - shopping centre / pub

Sculcoates Bridge approach mentioned in 1892 minutes (is this Cleveland Street corner?)

Shannon Road

Spring Bank West corner not on 1889 on 1928

Stoneferry Road - near the old green

Sutton - opposite the end of Leads Road

Temple Street

Waterhouse Lane – north east side on 1928 O/S

West Dock Avenue south end 'brick £110 six-stall' 1895 minutes

Once again - please contact me using the contact facility in the menu if you know of any public toilets that survive - and better still make a photo and send it to me. Also if you have any old photographs, or memories of locations please pass them to me too.  And thanks to those of you who already have including Bill, Ernie, Mick and Ian   


The King Street urinal constructed in 1854, to replace an earlier facility at the east end of the Holy Trinity walls nearer Market Place. King Street was originally built up on both sides but the east side was demolished in the late 19th Century to form the area latterly used as an open market. Similar surviving examples in Bristol (one in Mina Park is still working) confirm this was supplied by George Smith & Co of Glasgow.

Baker Street's original urinal mentioned in 1893 minutes as to be replaced. In 1895 suggested ‘that a circular urinal with six-stalls similar to that at the east end of Holy Trinity Church be placed in the middle of the road as near to Prospect Street as conveniently can be’. Supplied by ‘George Smith & Co, Sun Foundry Glasgow – their drawing no. A3684 elevation no.207, with fire-clay soles at £83.10s’

Urinal in Nelson Street, erected in 1854, working from newspaper reports in the Hull Packet. The cast iron urinals were taken down sometime in the early 20th Century and replaced by the existing brick lavatory block that caters for both men and women. To the rear is the old 'tap' of The Minerva Hotel, and to the left was a cab-stand that the urinal was possibly built to serve.

The only surviving cast iron urinal in East Yorkshire? It stands semi-restored on the west side of New Walk in Beverley.I believe it's a Listed Building, and was designed by Lockerbie & Wilkinson of Birmingham, who still exist as Locwil, makers of vending machines for public toilets.

Malton Street off Witham, and another double doorway urinal. A very similar design of urinal is held at the Colyford Station of the Seaton Tramway in Devon. The manufacturer was Walter Macfarlane's Saracen Foundry of Glasgow.

Nothing stands on the site in Malton Street now, although it did survive into the 1960s, but I imagine many of the drinkers out on a night around Witham would still appreciate this facility in the early hours on their way home.

Fountain Road, north side beneath the old railway bridge photographed in 1935, probably just before it was rebuilt as the red-brick one that I remember.

Hessle Road - Dairycoates allotments site, opposite the old Locomotive Inn c.1935, and behind the fence. Now the site of a flyover. Another by MacFarlane of Glasgow. Demolished 1963.

Drypool Green churchyard can be seen behind this cast iron urinal, seen here just before removal in November 1935. Note the usual gas-lamp and cistern.

These were the lavatories that stood on the south side of St John's Street. They were demolished along with St John's church for the construction of Ferens Art Gallery

The beautiful late 19th Century Art Neauvou tiled frontage of the Windmill Hotel can be seen to the right of this brick urinal in Clarence Street.

Inside the Clarence Street urinals you could still see the gas lamp bracket on the wall above the decorative yet functional ceramic tiled interior.

A Listed Building - but not the old urinal, the original gas lamp-post attached. It was possibly the status of the gas fitting that prevented this urinal next to The George pub on Spring Bank West being demolished for so long. Sadly it was removed overnight - mysteriously - around 22 November 2012; bas***ds.

Hard to see but a urinal stood just behind the four shops that faced Anlaby Road next to the Carnegie Library. The corner shop was an off-licence most of its life; the block was demolished to widen the Walton Street entrance.

The main building shown here was a Railway office for some reason - at the south-east end of Scale Lane just past the Manchester Arms at the High Street end. The brick urinal is nearest the photographer.

You'll have to use your imagination with these few. This was the remains of the Scott Street Bridge urinal in the 1990s.

That's Chris Ketchell looking as annoyed as I was that all the sites we visited had been demolished.

And another - this one was at the corner of Chapman Street and Cleveland Street - very little left by the time we got there.

This brick built urinal was at the corner of Terry Street and Beverley Road and survived until c.1970. Probably built c.1905 it served Stepney railway station as well as the old Rialto Cinema that can be seen directly behind it - latterly a tenpin bowling arcade.

This enlarged detail from an Edwardian postcard shows the under-ground lavatories in Market Place shortly after they opened in 1902. Built at a cost of £1,129 to the designs of City Engineer W H Lucas they are now a Grade II Listed Building. Sadly they are now usually closed.

Another of the large, grander Edwardian urinals at Spring Bank West Prince's Avenue corner. This is the one that disappeared overnight in 2009 in preparation for the road-widening that has taken place. Photo courtesy Liz Shepherd.

Oh eck' even more imagination needed for this one - what's left (or was) of it is hidden by bushes on the north side of Caroline Street almost opposite the old Rose,Downs & Thompsons factory.

A nice surviving feature of the Caroline Street brick urinal is (or was) this gas lamp fitting, although minus its glass case obviously. Now sadly, completely removed - gone without a trace.

This is another view of the Calvert Lane brick urinal (see introduction) that survived until recently. It may have been built to serve the White City pleasure grounds nearby but I think it was there before that opened.

At the entrance to Park Street was this cluster of street furniture and buildings; a Police Box, an Hull Telephones kiosk and a brick urinal. This used to be the site of a cabman's shelter hence the urinal. Just a phone box is here now.

The visitors to Hull Fair have been using these corrugated iron lavatories as long as I can remember. But as this 1930s photograph shows - they have been around even longer than that.

They still looked remarkably unchanged in this 1990s photograph I made. But these days (since the Tigers went to the top) they have been hidden from view to save the council's embarrassment when visiting supporters park here.

The toilets under Queen Victoria's statue in Victoria Square were built in 1923 (see main text) and are shown here in the 1930s. Note the Prudential Building behind that was blitz damaged in the Second World War.

Chanterlands Avenue flooded - but this is a 1940s photograph not 2007. It shows the original brick urinals that stood near the railway bridge until the late 1990s when they were demolished.

These brick lavatories in Baker Street are unchanged and one of the few facilities in the city that are open these days. They were built just after the Second World War. A cast iron one used to stand here - see above.

A more recent lavatory facility, this was in Craven Street, just off Holderness Road until the development of Mount Pleasant shopping centre. That's Chris Ketchell in shot again, with his trade mark hat.

And to the 1990s when these silly things were introduced. They were soon seen as daft and not easy to use and have been removed from the city streets almost entirely. This one was on Hessle High Road.

archived by
the British Library