Sunday, 25 June 2017

Elkstone Church Compost Toilet

Recently I was privileged to work on a monumental compost toilet with master timber framer Jim Symon. This toilet was commissioned for the grounds of a Norman church in Elkstone. Many churches are without toilet facilities, and as installing mains services to an Ancient building surrounded by graves is both impractical and inappropriate, compost toilets are a great option. In fact, in my opinion, compost toilets are generally the superior option. Using water that has been made fit for drinking, to transport this potentially useful resource away for arduous treatment, is an illogical activity. I stumbled upon some advice given to farmers by the Board of Agriculture in 1804, which encouraged them to build houses for their workers, because, "a ready supply of labourers is not the only advantage a farmer may reap from cottages. He will have, at an easy rate, all the manure they can make....". I think both the building of rural housing for workers and the use of human manure for fertiliser are pieces of advice that we'd do well to heed today. 

Jim Symon's compost toilet creation is a wonderful example of how a loo can be a beautiful feature that fits well into its surroundings. The frame, cladding, flooring and rafters are all local Oak, with sawn local Cedar shingles.