Housesteads latrines

Housesteads Roman Fort is tops for historic Roman toilets says English Heritage

JS48141384Reconstruction drawing of the interior of the latrines at Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall

The loo legacy left by the Romans has made Northumberland tops when it comes to historic toilets.

English Heritage has awarded the number one spot to Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall which, it says, has the best preserved Roman loos in Britain.

The accolade comes only weeks after the first wooden toilet seat in the Roman empire was found at another nearby fort, Vindolanda.

Housesteads at its height garrisoned 800 men, who would have used the loo block which can still be see today.

There weren’t any cubicles, so men sat side by side, free to gossip on the events of the day.

The loos were flushed by a channel running anti-clockwise, which used rainwater and draining surface water.

Water was also collected in a stone cistern.

A spokesman at English Heritage’s Housesteads site said: “We have the best preserved Roman toilets in Britain [p.5], which still ‘flush’ when it rains.

“All our visitors make sure to visit this part of the site, which makes for a great talking point.”

Meanwhile toilet seat manufacturer Tosca & Willoughby, based in Oxfordshire, have pledged a cash sum towards the preservation of the Vindolanda toilet seat.

The company will be producing a special Vindolanda edition version of their most popular Thunderbox seat, with a percentage of the sales going to the Vindolanda Trust.

James Williams, director of Tosca & Willoughby said: “We are absolutely fascinated by the discovery of a perfectly preserved ancient loo seat.”

Mr Williams offered to help support the conservation of this seat when he discovered the Vindolanda Trust was funded by visitors to the site.

He said: “We realise our donation is a drop in the ocean when you consider the overall cost of excavation and the preservation of these fascinating artefacts but we hope our pledge will help.”

Patricia Birley, trust director, said: “The work undertaken at Vindolanda which includes annual excavations, conservation and public display of artefacts can only happen with the support of the public.

“The trust is therefore delighted to receive a donation towards the cost of preserving our Roman toilet seat.

Toilet seatWooden toilet seat found at Vindolanda

WC

“The discovery of such a personal everyday item from nearly 2,000 years ago has intrigued people across the world and its legacy will now continue with a special edition Vindolanda Thunderbox seat being launched by Tosca & Willoughby in time for the ancient loo seat going on public display.”

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2 comments on “Housesteads latrines

  1. Éilis Niamh says:

    Wow this is great! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Saesnes says:

    Thank you, Éilis Niamh. I hoped this would be of interest to some readers.

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