Wednesday 28 April 2021

Box Toilet Re-instated

One of the turret toilets at the castle is amazingly well preserved, with intact walls and an intact ceiling. This, famously, is the room I first discovered by falling into it from above, through a loft hatch opening that was hidden by bird nesting material which gave way.

Even some of the original woodwork around the box-toilet was still in place, though the mahogany box toilet itself had clearly been looted from the castle as this was missing totally.

Yesterday, I tasked Gregor with re-instating the box toilet. We looked at various bits of reclaimed wood and various toilet seats. We settled on an antique square mahogany toilet seat, as the squareness matches the box-concept we were going for.

The seat of the new box toilet is made from the seat of a pew from Lochee Parish Church in Dundee. This wood is inch-thick pitch pine of amazing quality. The front panel of the new box toilet, is the back rest of the same pew. We will stain the pitch pine to match the darker colour of the mahogany toilet seat,

The cast iron cistern is again reclaimed and from Stonehaven, and it is good to have that local connection. Gregor managed to get the cistern working again, by replacing a rusted through metal pipe with a section of plastic pipe. The flush action is intense, which an impressive final whoosh, that should clear everything in its path. I dislike the wimpy flushes of modern toilets, that may not, er, succeed first time.

The antique WC we used just went outside the footprint of the original box toilet. We considered rounding the front to accommodate. We considered short 45 degree pieces at either side. Finally, I realised we could bring the front panel forward on the right about an inch with no disastrous consequences. You can see the original wall panelling now finishes a little short of the front edge of the seat on the right. Amazingly, the brought forward front panel now aligns perfectly with the wall of the passageway leading into the toilet, an improvement from the original somewhat misaligned aesthetics! 

I took these photos before we strip the original wallpaper and repaint the walls and woodwork, for the records. You can clearly see the original woodwork, painted dove grey, and the new unpainted woodwork.

Watch this space for the photos of the room after painting. 

re-instated box toilet

re-instated box toilet (seat detail)

I have just been thinking of the bigger picture. As Gregor and I tested out the seat for height, I realised that a box toilet is much more satisfactory and relaxing to use than a conventional WC as one cannot fall off sideways and there is more space around one lessening claustrophobia. All toilets should be built this way! :-)


  1. Hmmm. Seems like one of the fathers of our nation had a similar thought:

  2. Then you explain to us how you fell, from the ceiling, I love the bathroom how rustic it is, especially the toilet ...

  3. Then you explain to us how you fell, from the ceiling, I love the bathroom how rustic it is, especially the toilet ...

  4. I am far more worried that you think falling sideways off a toilet is a thing...

  5. Very elegant. I so agree re the falling off sideways hazard. 😁🍷