Wetherspoon’s to improve ‘disgusting’ toilets at Stoke Newington’s Rochester Castle after years of complaints

The Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington High Street. Picture: Dieter Perry

The Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington High Street. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

At more than two centuries old, The Rochester Castle is Wetherspoon’s oldest pub – and desperate punters are complaining that it has the toilets to match.

For years, regulars have been pointing out that the sole men’s cubicle they are forced to queue for does not meet the British Standard.

Now, after several calls to Hackney Council’s trading standards officers, the pub has announced plans to install more to meet the requirements of its 465 capacity.

One customer told the Gazette: “When we read the Wetherspoon news magazine given away free in their pubs, they show how they have refurbished other pubs’ toilets, showing the new tiling and washbasins with lights, and don’t they look very nice?

“The toilets in there [Rochester Castle] are absolutely disgusting.

“We have been in the pub on several occasions when someone has been ill in the cubicle and have made quite a mess and then the toilet is out of use for a period of time. And some people take quite a bit of time to use the toilet, so there is a queue. Sometimes there’s three or four people waiting there.”

The punter said he used to go into the pub but got “fed up with the toilet situation” and has been spending more time in The Drum in Lea Bridge Road, which has “perfect” toilets.

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“People would go in the Castle at the weekends and then have to go to another pub across the road to use the toilets,” he added. “I think a lot of people have stopped going there now.”

The Gazette understands JD Wetherspoon has recently bought the freehold for the pub, and designs for a refurb have been drawn up. They will eventually see the number of men’s cubicles increased to six – both upstairs and downstairs – and the women’s increased to eight.

Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Plans have been drawn up to refurbish the pub and this includes the gents’ toilets.

“There is no date for work to commence as yet.

“We will also ensure that regular and frequent checks of the toilets are taking place to ensure that standards of cleanliness are maintained.”

The Stoke Newington High Street boozer is the oldest standing Spoons establishment, having being taken over by the chain in 1982.

Before the music was turned off the boozer was known for hosting up-and-coming bands, including The Jam, The Stranglers and Ian Dury.