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Luxury in lavatory a must see

PUBLISHED: 09:51 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:33 25 August 2010

ORNATE, luxurious and refined are words not often used to describe a toilet. Yet one of south London s hidden gems, a listed ladies lavatory at the University of Greenwich, will be open to the public on Saturday, February 6.

ORNATE, luxurious and refined are words not often used to describe a toilet.

Yet one of south London's hidden gems, a listed ladies' lavatory at the University of Greenwich, will be open to the public on Saturday, February 6.

The lovely loos are among the original features of a 19th century mansion at Avery Hill, now part of the university campus.

Describing the loos, a spokesman for the University of Greenwich, who might consider auditioning for a shopping channel, said: "Richly decorated with ornate tile walls and mosaic marble flooring, they offer a glimpse of luxury living in the age of the Victorians."

The building was commissioned by Colonel John North, the 'Nitrate King', who made his fortune in Chile and returned to the UK in the 1880s to make his home in Eltham.

A distinctive feature of the lavatory is its tiling, a type known as Burmantofts faïence, which was praised by British Architecture magazine which said: "The decorative effect is the best of its kind we have seen. The whole effect is refined and pleasing."

Much of the mansion, including an extravagant series of Turkish baths, was destroyed in the Second World War.

A fine ballroom survived, which today houses the campus library, alongside a glorious Winter Garden, with palm house, pond house and fernery, which Colonel North built to house his collection of Chilean plants.

The Avery Hill Campus will be open to the public as part of the University Open Day on Saturday, February 6, between 10am and 4pm.

To find out more, visit www.gre.ac.uk/study/open or call freephone 0800 005 006.


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