With spiralling land prices turning even the darkest corners of London into potential goldmines, the city's forgotten spaces, including 19th-century public toilets, are blossoming into restaurants, cafes and boutiques.

Many Victorian urinals remained abandoned for decades after World War II, but encouraged by local officials keen for fresh sources of income, the conversion wave is gathering pace.

A picture shows the exterior of "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the exterior of "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the exterior of "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the exterior of "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Pastries and cakes are displayed in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Pastries and cakes are displayed in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
Original urinals and cisterns are pictured in "Attendant", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and sandwich bar in central London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A man cycles past "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A man cycles past "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows part of the exterior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP
A picture shows the interior of the "The Convenience", a former public toilet that has been converted into a coffee shop and restaurant in Hackney, east London. — Photo by AFP

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Comments (12) Closed

Imran Quraishi
Oct 08, 2014 07:18pm
In Pakistan we need more public toilets than coffee shops as that is the need of the hour. Millions of people are forced to answer the call of nature in the open as there are no public toilets to be found. Actually the Government of Pakistan can make millions out of these toilets by charging the people a nominal fee for using them. In the need of the hour one would be willing to pay any amount of money for using these toilets.
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Kashif
Oct 09, 2014 09:34am
More importantly we need to train our nation how to use toilets...
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Jude Allen
Oct 09, 2014 11:55am
I think the idea of public toilets can be taken from China where everything is automated / self cleaning / dis infecting. If a pilot project is started from DHA where water re cycling programs are run simultaneously, it would bring about a whole new prospective and awareness. Sustainable programs such as these could ease the burden of government spending.
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Usman Madha
Oct 09, 2014 09:01pm
A bit gross for me to think that I would sit and drink coffee or eat pastries inside a public toilet of the past although I am sure that it has been cleaned thoroughly. Just doesn't seem right. The question that comes to mind is do these places build new toilets inside of the old ones?
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zeb
Oct 10, 2014 02:19pm
Well this is classic materialist, don't worry tomorrow it will be graveyards cafe ! lot of space available !!!!!!!
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Mr. K
Oct 11, 2014 09:54am
Literally you eat where you...
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Kahn
Oct 12, 2014 11:42am
I would charge the coffee shop for my pretty peny that i spend there..I don't think they have any think special there. What is that lamington anyway? is that coconut covered brownoe? I don't like the idea of sitting in a crapper and sipping on a cup of coffee. Thanks but your idea is gross.
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Indian
Oct 12, 2014 02:26pm
I would rather have my masala Tea (with ilaychi, adhrak) at some roadside Dhaba !!! :)
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TK
Oct 13, 2014 05:46am
I am going to have trouble drinking my coffee today.
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Vijay(Toronto)
Oct 14, 2014 12:34am
@zeb Just don't make any noise there. You don't want to wake up the dead.
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Khizr
Oct 14, 2014 05:47pm
@Jude Allen : Great idea. I am looking at students of our key engineering and business institutions to come up with a few pilot projects and then expand and implement it across our country. In Pakistan and in India.
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Khizr
Oct 14, 2014 05:51pm
@zeb : Somebody already thought of that before you warned us. One of the great restaurant (and the whole building) on Burns Road in Karachi is built on the site of an old (historic) graveyard. Unfortunate.
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