Relief at hand for hall visitors

RELIEF is at hand for visitors to Seaton Delaval Hall.

New toilets at the tourist attraction are now ready for action after months of work, putting an end to long queues for those caught short, strained sewerage systems and even more strained expressions on the faces of visitors desperate to heed calls of nature.

The need for improved WCs was evident as soon as the National Trust took over the hall at the end of 2009 and soon became even more glaring as increases in opening hours and visitor numbers took their toll on the old system.

Property manager Judith Cashman said: “You would be surprised how much work goes into installing a toilet block on a heritage site.

“First, you have to find a suitable flat piece of ground on which to park the loos. Then the water and electricity supply has to be installed, which can be a long process on a site with significant underground archaeology to explore.

“Our biggest challenge, however, has been drainage.

“When Seaton Delaval Hall was built in 1729, there were no mains sewers to connect the house to, no flush toilets and no such thing as a septic tank.

“In fact, there is still no mains drainage, so we have had to put a tank in place.”

The new loos are located next door to an old netty used until 1950.