The Oldest Toilet in the UK


Who else but yours truly could stumble upon the oldest toilet in the UK? For those of you looking to trace my footsteps, the toilet is located at Housesteads Fort, way up in the North of Englandshire.

The Roman fort on the wall was called Vercovicium and was built around 140AD. Yes. 140AD. As in 140 years after JC died.

Pass the paper, please....

Pass the paper, please....

So it's pretty old time-y.

The foundations of the fort are pretty well preserved and English Heritage has put up lots of interperative displays to help you imagine that this outpost in the middle of nowhere was at one time a bustling Roman fort.

The fort had the usual features - bunkhouses, a granary, administrative centers and a bath - but the coolest part was the oldest toilet in the UK!

You can see it a little better in the picture to the right. Despite what you may think, those basins AREN'T the toilets. They're meant to hold water for washing. That's right. Running water back in the olden days. Here's another view. The toilets were over the trenches on either side of the center. The trenches were covered with wooden planks and then the toilets were on top of the plants. Then MORE RUNNING WATER carried the sewage in the trenches away outside the walls of the fort.

Pretty incredible when you think about it.

Just another brick in the wall. 

Just another brick in the wall. 

You'd be inclined to think that Romans weren't exactly happy to be posted to the middle of nowhere back in the olden days, but apparently that wasn't the case. Also, many of the soldiers that garrisoned the walls were drawn from some of the local tribes, so living in a fort in the middle of nowhere might be a step up for a few of them.

Hadrian's Wall runs up to the fort and down through the other side. It's pretty cool to see it in person.

Here's a picture of the wall with some sheep for perspective. Most of the wall base is buried several feet below ground.

Oh yeah, and DON'T WALK ON THE WALL if you go there. Sure, it looks like it might make a good trail but you'll get all the local walkers upset. And for good reason.

That wall's been there for thousands of years and they don't want any lunkheads knocking it over.