Old Mill Road; Out of Order & in a sad state

Signage; Old Mill Road

There are many old toilets in Auckland that are going to waste. Unused, unloved and unmaintained. Recently the Auckland Heritage Board did some stellar work identifying the best examples in the hopes of renting them out to be refurbished as cafes, bars and galleries, ala London heritage loos.

In theory I totally agree with reusing a vacant space as long as the heritage features were maintained and not destroyed in the process. But in all honesty I would much prefer they were kept as toilets to be used be everyone.

The number of terrible, dirty, monotonous exceloos around the city says nothing about Auckland, our history or our society. Social history is fucking awesome because it shows us where we have came from and gives us clues about where we are going. I know other people don’t see toilets as a way to track the minutiae of social history but EVERYONE NEEDS TO PISS. What other tenant of public society is required by every single human being? I can’t think of one, though you may be able to.

I love toilets for many reasons, not just because of my phobias and panic attacks. I love the egalitarian nature of them, I love the humanity of them and the fact that they offer each person the opportunity to be at their most vulnerable in public while still maintaining their dignity, something which if you think about it can help us empathize and bond as human creatures. Everyone shits; it is the great equalizer. But, enough of my ranting about history, toilets and my love for them.

Old Mill Road toilet is a classic old building beside a set of old gates, possibly in to Western Springs Stadium or an older entrance to the zoo. I can’t find any information about when it was built but I’m going to hazard an educated guess and say around the 1930’s. They made good, hard-wearing utilitarian shit back then. When I made a quick stop last weekend I was sad to see that the bathroom was closed due to “Health and Safety” issues.

Old Mill Road public toilet, Women's signage

From the outside there is nothing obviously wrong with the building or the interiors, so I’m really hoping the council plans to do them up and reopen rather than what I expect they will do; knock them down and put in a shitty tiresome metal box toilet lacking any personality or New Zealand inflection.

I do realise this isn’t the greatest example of an historical toilet. Compare it to some of the older, more elegant toilet buildings in Auckland and it comes off looking like a bit of a plain Jane, but in 40 or 50 years time it will be significant, by which time they will all be gone. If we keep smashing things down we won’t have any history to collect or research and all we’ll be left with is a bunch of rusting, crap cookie-cutter drone boxes.

Old Mill Road public toilet, Exterior 2

Old Mill Road public toilet, Exterior

Old Mill Road public toilet, Exterior, men's

Old Mill Road public toilet, Exterior, women's

At least the open grated gates allowed me to get a quick peek at the interiors in spite of the padlocks.

Old Mill Road public toilets, Locks

Simple interiors, two stall for the women’s, one stall and a urinal for the men’s. They looked in pretty good nick and there is also a playground about 10 meters up the road which means one less facility for parents and little ones with full nappies.

Old Mill Road public toilet, women's interior

Old Mill Road public toilet, interior men's

I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they fix and reopen these toilets, but I have a sad feeling they are being readied for the chop 😦

Ratings  (as far as I was able to see)

Cleanliness : ?/10  Can’t really mark it in this state but they seemed fine other than all the debris from leaves and rubbish blowing/being thrown in.

Interior : 6/10  Good solid interior, soap, driers, sinks all look newish.

Exterior : 8/10  The view is gorgeous, there is parking and facilities which may need a bathroom nearby. It seems a no brainer to have a good loo in this position.

Safety : 8/10  It’s a nice road filled with lovely houses, a kids playground near but not too nearby if you don’t like kids or squealing like I don’t. The stadium next door would mean that it’s use and position would have made me very very happy if I were to need the loo while waiting in line. This would be a life saver.

Snugglitude : 8/10  I can’t help supporting an under dog, but it also fulfills all my criteria for anxiety needs; privacy, facilities, parking and positioning. It’s an obvious winner. Pity the council don’t rate the way I do.

Total : 30+/50  If it was kept in a clean state this little loo would be a high scorer, and who can question this view?

Old Mill Road public toilet, view


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