Manchester's best public toilets reviewed!

Manchester shops are signing up to a public toilet scheme - so which are the best? Living Edge does a wee survey...

Manchester city centre isn’t blessed with its public loos. There are those black and gold Tardis cubicles on street corners which look frankly too terrifying to use and every time you want to ‘go’ at Piccadilly train station or Chorlton Street bus station it costs a whopping 30p for the privilege, which is why most of us usually swan nonchalantly into a bar or caf�, pretending to look for a ‘friend’ while making a beeline for the bogs.

Popping into a shop is another option and this has now been made ‘official’ via a new initiative launched by Cityco which provides welcome relief for those who need to spend a penny whilst in the city.

Participants in the City Loos scheme will display stickers in their windows indicating that anyone is welcome to use their facilities whether they’re a customer or not.  

Vaughan Allen, chief executive of city centre management company, Cityco, said: ‘We’ve all nipped in a store to use their facilities and felt a bit guilty for not shopping there. Now anyone is welcome to pop into any of the participating stores without having to worry. We were aware of the lack of public facilities, so approached businesses for their help and have had a great response so far and are currently talking to 30 more venues to get them onboard. It’s important we get the basics right so people enjoy the experience of visiting Manchester. This is all part of our on-going work to make the city centre a family-friendly place.’

Fascinating toilet facts• The flushing toilet was invented by Sir John Harrington in 1596 for Queen Elizabeth I.

• Pomegranates studded with cloves were used as the first attempt at making toilet air-freshner.

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• Most toilets flush in the key of E flat (yes, really!).

• The first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used (and consequently cleanest).

• The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet.

So how do these City Loo in-store lavatories rate? We went to check them out in a mini-survey.House of Fraser, Deansgate0870 160 7254House of Fraser has lots of loos for both men and women, the best of which are on the sixth floor, complete with baby changing facilities. They're very clean; though anyone who recalls Kendals in its snooty heyday, when they used to have a separate make-up/loafing area will be disappointed to find that they are more functional than luxurious. Marks out of 5: 4Debenhams, Market StreetNot luxurious but convenient for Market Street which explains why there are usually queues for the Debenhams loos. As you might expect, clean and equipped with all the necessaries. And there's a special parent and baby room next to the loos which earns them an extra point.Marks out of 5: 4Harvey Nichols, Exchange Square0161 828 8888Third floor loos, next to the bar means you can't afford to be desperate. As you'd expect, the interior is fashionable i.e. mirrored discs on the wall rather than a 'proper' mirror, surprisingly not built for lady loitering but nice soaps and paper towels.Marks out of 5: 3.5Selfridges, Exchange Square0800 123 400A couple of loos on the basement and some on the second floor. Nice lighting, larger cubicles for those with disabilities and ample baby changing facilities but while some taps work, others don't. There's hardly ever a queue at the ones on the second floor however, which makes them really… well, convenient.Marks out of 5: 3Triangle, Exchange Square0161 834 8961Relaxing facilities with a separate area for doing your make-up (don't know about the men's) access is either via a lift or escalator so good for those with disabilities. Extras like handcream there too.Marks out of 5: 4.5