Could this be Dick Whittington’s privy?

MOLA team

MOLA’s Standing Buildings Team was recently commissioned by the City of London to investigate and record masonry features within the Phene Neal Room of the Guildhall in London. Previous investigations by MOLA showed the masonry to in fact be part of a medieval garderobe, more commonly known as a toilet.

The garderobe would have been constructed during John Croxtone’s renovations of the Guildhall in the early 15th century and therefore, it is believed to have been in use when the fabled Dick (Richard) Whittington was Lord Mayor of London, on no less than four separate occasions between 1397 and 1420.

The removal of an adjacent modern concrete floor dating to a later period led to the discovery of an associated vaulted soakaway arch (drain) and cesspit, visible in the above image.

The privy would have served the banqueting suite in the East Crypt, which was accessed via a door and stairwell. Later, direct access to the hall above was built-in. The toilet remained in use until roughly the 19th century when the space became corridor access between the Guildhall and the Library and Museum.

  • Built heritage
  • Medieval

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