Manor Place Conveniences: toilet stories wanted

The Otago Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is currently working on a heritage listing report for the Manor Place Conveniences owned by Dunedin City Council.

The Manor Place Public Toilets tucked away behind a bush on a lonely streetscape.
1919 Photograph of the Urinal surrounded in shrubbery for concealment for its patrons, DCC Archives.expand/collapse

'Conveniences’ was the name used for a public toilet before the 1960s. Dunedin’s resident Loo Lady, Alison Breese, who is part of the Dunedin Southland office team, will be leading the project to list this building.

World Toilet Day is on 19 November and with this important event coming up it is the perfect time to discover what members of the public know about the Manor Place Conveniences.

The Manor Place conveniences were built in 1912, shortly after the city’s new underground toilets. They were built for men only and were designed to mirror the shape of Dunedin’s iconic Octagon. The contractor for the Manor Place urinals, A. Ferry, also built the Custom House Square undergrounds using the same materials. Unlike the Custom House Square undergrounds, the Manor Place urinals were bricked up and largely forgotten about until recently. Their neglect has led to their survival with their 1912 interior remaining intact.

How can you help? We’re keen to hear from members of the public on three main points:

  • Did you know the brick structure was a toilet?
  • What do you know about the history of the Manor Place Conveniences?
  • How do you think this space could be used in the future?

Check out the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Facebook page to see the original plans, historic documents, and photographs related to the toilets, and for a rare peak inside.

Please send your thoughts to SubmissionsOS@heritage.org.nz (Subject line Manor Place Toilets) or pop down to the loos to chat with our staff on World Toilet Day.

Rosemary Baird, Sarah Gallagher and Alison Breese