On Toilets - Mark Frost (Hansons '70-'77)

Sometimes I just sit down in the pleasant sunshine, cast my mind back to adolescence, and jot down whatever comes to mind. Given the weighty debates that have populated these pages recently you may find the following puerile, for which I apologise in advance. On the other hand, you may find it a bit of light relief, but in any case, as I'm on somewhat of a roll .......

Toilet humour – a British obsession! Strange to say, I can’t really remember a lot about the loos at WH, considering the amount of time spent in them. However, a few things come to mind:

Bog rolls

  • They were recently fought over in supermarkets, but no-one would be fighting over what we had to put up with: harsh tracing-paper, each sheet marked: "Now wash your hands please."
  • I remember Arthur Podd was asked to count up the number of sheets on a roll when the subject of replacing them with something softer was raised. The results:
    - Andrex 240 sheets per roll
    - ILEA 5000 sheets per roll

Flimsy partitions

  • In the ‘modern’ houses such as Hansons the loos suffered from lightweight partitions raised about 6 inches from the floor.
  • Boys would come in and shout: "Who’s in the bog?" to invariably be met with the reply: "Me"!
  • I guess you kind of wanted to know who was enthroned next to you.
  • Privacy was not good. Surprisingly, there was not a huge amount of graffiti, but one that I recall said: "Watch out for queer limbo
    referring to the gap. Sorry – not very PC!

Letch mags

  • In the loos attached to more senior dorms girly mags were sometimes to be found.
  • These were usually well-thumbed and (ahem) ‘slightly foxed’.
  • If you were unlucky a copy of H&E (Health and Efficiency – yeah right!) was available, with photos of naked couples playing tennis in the South of France.
  • If you were lucky you found a copy - or more likely a couple of torn-off pages - of 'Playboy' or 'Penthouse'.
  • I am not sure what the law on porn was in the 1970’s and it seemed OK to show boobs, but anything further south had to be in very soft focus, even though at that time girls generally only shaved their armpits and legs.
  • Seems innocent compared with today, and arguably more erotic.
  • Those centre-folds are pushing 70+ now – where does it all go?
  • Was anyone ever punished for being caught with one of these mags? Confiscated until the end of term ……………… and never seen again.

The Decontam - ironically, probably the most contaminated building on site!

  • Woe betide anyone who was caught short in the Nissen hut area.
  • The only facility was this hell-hole (presumably left over from LNS days), which revolted even the most desperate smokers.
  • I swear there were insects in there unknown to science.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-64: As for myself, I have no particular memories of toilets, fond or otherwise - except perhaps one, and this reminds me of the weird nature of memory; WHY this should stick in my mind I cannot imagine.

I was passing the famous stairs just inside the Berners main hall on my way outside and Malcolm Prickett was descending. I called out: "Where's Randle?" (logically enough, as I was looking for him.) And Prickly replied: "He's on the bogs."

This was in Autumn 1958 and I was in the first year - and until that point completely unfamiliar with the word "bogs" in that context. I think I knew what a bog was in general (I HAD PASSED THE 11+ AFTER ALL!) but "on the bogs" was new. I soon worked it out, but was then puzzled by the use of the plural. I mean, how can one be on more than one bog at a time?

Still, I had other things on my mind and soon stopped letting that linguistic illogicality worry me.

The ONLY other thing I remember about toilets (or bogs if you insist) was that the Berners outside washrooms were bloody cold in winter ..... I assumed it was all part of a cunning plan to toughen us up for rugby ....

THANK YOU, Mark, for opening up this bogroll ....

Philip Flannery - Berners 72-79: There were huge numbers of crane flies in the Berners toilets. As second years, we would see how many we could kill with our school ties, by flicking them.