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Tales of potty politics and hygiene history introduce you to London like never before. Help create an audio guide for Loo Tours!
Tales of potty politics and hygiene history introduce you to London like never before. Help create an audio guide for Loo Tours!
77 backers pledged £2,435 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

At Your Convenience: The Loo Tours Audio Guide project video thumbnail
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£2,435

77

Our first target was reached in just 31 hours! 

And our first stretch goal in 5 days! And have now passed the second and third!

         ...but we're not done yet!!! 

                   We have oh-so-many more ideas!

Up Next: 

£2,500- We'll design a packet of children's activity pages to accompany each tour (a total of 10 pages which will include creative colouring sheets, design challenges, and chances to learn and imagine!)

(Scroll down for more stretch goals which include jokes and stories submitted by you, and a guidebook to the Loos of London)

 No, we’re not taking the piss! It’s the perfect tour for the immensely practical tourist with a sense of humour and an interest in hygiene. Loo Tours has been entertaining visitors to London since early 2013. Participants are immersed in a combination the surprisingly eventful history and potty-politics of the capital’s public toilets combined with practical information on where to go in London. The tour takes in sights from London’s most patriotic toilet to the converted cocktail bar which was once ‘the most infamous gents in Theatreland.’ 

Tours have been featured on the BBC, London Live and have been listed on Time Out’s Top 101 things to do in London.

Guests have said:

“a fascinating romp through social history as shaped through something we all use every day.” 

“The Loo Lady is a fabulous guide; friendly, funny and knowledgable. This walking tour takes you to places you may never have noticed, and the theme of lavatories embraces a history of public sanitation, which is a fascinating insight into the social history of London. I'm so glad I found it!” 

The Audio Tour & Guidebook

We now want to expand our offerings to create a more flexible option for those who would like to do the tour in their own time and at their own pace. The stories told on the tour will be recorded (along with some new material!) and woven together with a soundtrack to create a self-guided hour-long stroll though some of London’s most iconic areas from Waterloo to the West End. 

The Loo Tour will be available to iPhone and Android users as a location-aware audio guide on VoiceMap, with an interactive map.

An MP3 version will also be available for those who prefer more traditional approach and (like the Loo Lady herself) have semi-intelligent phones that only make calls and send texts or who want to listen to the stories from the comfort of their home.

You can hear a sample of the audio tour and see the Voicemap Interface here: https://voicemap.me/walk/london/waterloo-station-tour This is a rough and ready version without the polish of our final goal.

In conjunction with the audio we will create an illustrated map booklet, with drawings by Fenn Schroder to guide you on the journey, which will be available as a downloadable PDF. 

Extra Urgency: A letter from the Loo Lady 

What's the big deal? Our social mission:

The seemingly innocent toilet contains so many more layers than you'd assume at a first glance. In many ways it is something that unites us... no matter what our station in life we all have to wee and poo. 

Issues of public toilets and public toilet provision affect a variety of user groups: particularly those who are elderly, mothers with children and users with a range of disabilities from mobility impairments to conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and Crohns. The stigma associated with incontinence and an inability to 'hold-it' can be crippling to a social life and to mental wellbeing. Yet public toilets across the UK are continually closing down (at a reported loss of 40% over the last 10 years.)

Still, we are the lucky ones... World-wide 2.5 billion people worldwide (40% of the earth's population!) lack access to basic sanitation. Poor sanitation is one of the leading causes of child mortality, and has further knock-on effects on education, health and mental wellbeing, particularly for marginalized groups of society. 

Uniting both the local and the global is the need to start conversations and spotlight the issue. The more we can break taboos and erase embarrassment the easier it will be to face these issues head-on and find long term sustainable solutions. 

We take a soft approach using story-telling and humour to lift the lid and hopefully inspire people to continue conversations on their own. Check out our stretch goals for some of the ways we hope to expand the work long-term!

Potty Facts

A preview of what to expect from the tour: 
  • The world's population produces enough urine to fill 4200 Olympic swimming pools every day.
  • Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet, but he was a real live manufacturer who worked in London in the mid-late 1800's.
  • In 1842 the English Social Reformer Edwin Chadwick wrote "the annual loss of life from filth and bad ventilation are greater than the loss from death or wounds in any wars in which the country has been engaged in modern times." His arguments for improving sanitation in London sound almost identical to the case for investment in Global Sanitation today.
  • The world's most expensive toilet is made of solid 24 karat gold and belongs to the Hang Fung Gold Technology Group in Hong Kong.

Who is Involved 

Rachel Erickson (The Loo Lady): Writer and Performer http://lootours.com/guides.html

Paul Freeman: Recording artist & Composer http://paultqfreeman.com/soundcloud/ 

 Fenn Schroder: Graphic Designer 

Tricia Howey: Digital Marketer

Julie Groves: Musician

Nadia Wilson: Musician

Budget Breakdown 

Photo by James Morgan
Photo by James Morgan

Our basic aim is to cover professional recording and graphic design. While our team are prepared to donate much of their time we want to make sure their basic expenses are covered. We have plenty of stretch goals in mind so do feel free to plunge deep into your pockets and give generously! 

Your money will go towards:

  • Expenses for the design and production team
  • Web/distribution/promotional expenses
  • Kickstarter & payment processer fees 
  • Reward delivery & product creation 

Initial goal: £500- Achieved on 30/8/14!

Stretch Goals: 

£1,200- We'll create a complete original musical soundtrack composed to accompany the tour. Achieved on 3/9/14

£1,800- We'll record a second walk and map for the Bloomsbury Loo Tour which dives deeper into the history of Public Health. Achieved on 15/9/14

£2,000- We'll bring in some special guest voices to tell various stories. Achieved on 22/9/14

Up Next:

£2,500- We'll design a packet of children's activity pages to accompany each tour (a total of 10 pages which will include creative colouring sheets, design challenges, and chances to learn and imagine!)

£3,000- We'll record a 'special features' edition incorporating extra jokes, humorous anecdotes and stories... contributed by YOU!

£5,000- We'll publish an illustrated guidebook to London's Loos, with multiple walking-tour routes across Lambeth, Westminster, City of London and Camden. The guidebook (like the tours) will link fun facts with the importance of toilets, public health, and global development. 

The book will feature family-friendly routes and colouring pages for children.

Jonathan Routh's Good Loo Guide is a huge inspiration! (Photo by James Morgan)
Jonathan Routh's Good Loo Guide is a huge inspiration! (Photo by James Morgan)

and because you've gotta have a dream: 

£50,000- The legal minimum requirement of capital for the Loo Lady to transfer to a Tier 1 Visa. Rachel stays in London and continues to give Loo Tours personally, while pursuing more exiting and creative ways to get people thinking and talking about global sanitation!!!

Timeline 

August/September: Fundraising Script writing/story boarding 

September: Recording & Composing. Graphic design work. 

October: Continued recording and editing. 

November: Final edits made. Backer rewards distributed. 

16 November: Soft-launch date... Audio-tour available to the public. 

19 November: World Toilet Day! Official Launch of the Audio Tour!

Stretch Goal Timelines: The above deadlines are for the audio tour and map. The aim for the children's book will be March 2015, in time for World Water Day.

 Rewards

Our team are banding together to offer an exciting range of rewards for all levels of support. We want to make sure every contribution is acknowledged.

Credits:

  • All backers, no matter the donation, will be credited on the audio-tour page of our website. 
  • Backers £10 and up will be credited on the Loo Tours PDF booklet
  • Backers £50 and up will receive verbal credit on the Audio Tour in addition to print and web credits. 

We've got two different sets of rewards to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible.

Set 1: The Bog Standard Rewards: A handy guide to what you get: 

  • Limited edition 'I Spent a Penny for Loo Tours' t-shirt and prints and stickers.
  • Free downloads of Audio Tour and original music
  • Loo Lady key chains & necklaces
  • Keep Calm and Carry On at your Convenience T-shirts & Prints
  •  Prints and postcards by our artists (Available both digitally and printed)
  • A Loo Tours Quiz book with 100 questions on Lavatorial Logic.
    Note: New rewards have been added since the chart was first created... check the sidebar and message us with any questions. 
T-shirt design options by Fenn Schroder
T-shirt design options by Fenn Schroder

Set 2: The Loo Lady's Closet

The Loo Lady has a distinct feel. When leading the tours I am often complimented on my 'costume' (and tell people it's just my clothes.) I do, however, make a point of wearing bright colours and dressier clothing than I might normally. This is because I believe that toilets can and should be pleasant places rather than the grim grey grottos that they are often envisioned as. Help spread the cheer by pledging and receiving: 

  • 'Toilets for all' rainbow friendship bracelets.
  • Loo Lady Necklace
  • Rainbow Socks
  • Knitted toilet roll scarf
  • Keep Calm and Carry On (At Your Convenience) T-shirt
Loo Lady Rewards
Loo Lady Rewards
Toilet Paper Scarf in progress
Toilet Paper Scarf in progress

Stretch Goal Rewards

If the project passes the first stretch goal all backers will receive a special "Flush with Success" digital Loo Tours Sticker.

If the project passes the second stretch goal all backers at or above the £15 level will receive the second audio tour.

If the project passes the £2,300 or £2500 level all backers will receive a digital copy of the children's activity pages

If we reach the £3000 level ALL backers will be invited to contribute a story, joke or favorite loo. 

Thanks To:

Gloria Schiavi & Marcelo Pellegrini and Suzie Shepherd of Arts London News (suzieshepherdcv.wordpress.com) for footage of the tours.

Tricia Howey for Video Editing.

Iain Manley of VoiceMap for patiently explaining the concept and answering a constant stream of questions. 

The multitude of friends who provided pre-launch feedback on the kickstarter campaign (you know who you are

And all of you for reading this far!!!

Risks and challenges

We know that this entire project needs to be completed in a relatively short space of time. Our team have experience of working to tight deadlines, and are confident that this can be delivered. We have previously collaborated on other projects and know our working methods are compatible.

Our stretch-goals will take place outside of the initially set timeline, with an aim to be completed by 2015. In the event that we are unable to deliver any of the stretch goals unlocked, remaining or surplus funds will be donated to a sanitation organization (TBD.) In this case all backers will be informed and will have the option of a refund.

If the project does not meet its targets the project will go forward in a scaled down capacity, with what time and skills the team are able to donate.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.66

    'SPEND A PENNY':

    £1 is the lowest kick starter will allow, but in the spirit of 'every penny counts' all donations are appreciated.
    We'll send you a tip on a free location in London (you choose the area) and you'll be credited on audio tour page of our website and receive a digital “I spent a penny for Loo Tours!” sticker.

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    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    'ECO-FLUSH':

    Plunge a bit deeper in your pocket and you'll receive a PDF of the illustrated map along with the above rewards.

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    Pledge £7 or more About $12

    'KNOW YOUR SHIT'- You'll receive a digital booklet of 100 Toilet Quiz Questions, perfect for pub quizzes or generating lively dinner time conversation. You'll also get a digital I Spent A Penny for London Loo Tours Sticker.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $17

    'PECUNIA NON OLET':

    You’ll receive a pre-launch download of the audio tour plus the above rewards. You'll also be credited on the Loo Tours Map Booklet.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £12 or more About $20

    LOO LADY'S FANS: Show your support of Loo Tours with a rainbow Friendship Bracelet and a digital 'I Spent a Penny for the London Loo Tours' sticker

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $25

    'TAKE THE PLUNGE': You’ll receive a pre-launch download of the audio tour and PDF illustrated map PLUS a digital Loo Tours Print (perfect for display in the Loo!)

    You'll also be credited on audio tour page of our website and the back of our booklet receive a digital "I spent a penny for the London Loo Tours!" sticker.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $33

    'FLUSH PRINCESS':

    You’ll receive the above rewards PLUS a download of the original Loo Tours theme tune composed by Paul Freeman.

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    Limited 6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £24 or more About $40

    LOO LADY'S FOOTSTEPS: Striped stockings have become an iconic part of the Loo Lady's outfit. You'll receive a pair, as well as a Friendship Bracelet and a digital 'I Spent a Penny for the London Loo Tours' sticker.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $41

    'ROUND THE U-BENT': You’ll receive all the rewards of the £15 level PLUS a Print of your choice by Fenn Schroder and a Loo Lady Keychain.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $50

    PUSHING FOR CHANGE- You will receive all the rewards of the £25 level PLUS a digital booklet of 100 Toilet Quiz Questions and answers (great for creating a pub quiz, or sparking lively dinner table discussion)

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $58

    'SITTING PRETTY' You will receive a copy of tour recordings and digital versions of maps PLUS your image (or a friend of your choice... with their permission of course) as inspiration for a character on the lootours map booklet. You'll also receive a downloadable version of your character!

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $75

    'TOILET STAR!'
    You'll receive a copy of the audio-tour and a chance for your voice to appear on the recording (reading a segment of text or telling a favorite toilet joke or pun... subject to censorship!)

    You'll also receive thanks in all print and digital materials receive a digital "I spent a penny for Loo Tours!" sticker.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £48 or more About $80

    LOO LADY'S FRIENDS: Get a Loo Lady kit with the t-shirt (Keep Calm and Carry On), necklace, stockings and bracelet. You'll also get a digital 'I Spent a Penny for the London Loo Tours' sticker.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $83

    'FEELING FLUSH': You’ll receive a pre-launch download of the audio tour and PDF illustrated map PLUS your choice of T-shirt (“I spent a penny for Loo Tours” or Keep Calm and Carry On At Your Convenience")

    You'll also receive a mention in the closing credits of the Audio Tour and on all print and digital materials.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $83

    DOCTOR LOO: The Loo Lady will knit you a nifty toilet paper scarf (Though it won't be 14 ft long!!!) and you'll get some striped socks to go with.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $124

    'GIVE A SHIT': (We don't censor it because we don't think it's a bad word!)
    You'll receive a combo of rewards including t-shirt of your choice, a framed print and a loo lady key ring.
    You'll also receive a mention in the closing credits of the Audio Tour and on all print and digital materials.

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $166

    'PORCELAIN GODS':

    You'll receive the above rewards plus a song download and a set of eight post cards with prints by Fenn Schroder.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $249

    LOO LADY'S DOUBLE: Get the whole head to toe deal with socks, t-shirt, bracelet, necklace and scarf, plus your own plunger!

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $415

    'GOLDEN RIVERS': Enjoy a private Loo Tour by the Loo Lady herself for a group of up to 5 (including a small gift for each guest and a drink at the Cellar Door) and receive a commemorative bedazzled Plunger.

    You'll also receive a mention in the opening and closing credits of the Audio Tour and on all print and digital materials.

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Funding period

- (30 days)