Origins of Spend a Penny


This expression came about from women needing to use public toilets. Seems, men never had to pay but women did! They had to put an old pre-decimal penny into a lock on the door and slide a handle across to open it. Hence the expression ‘to spend a penny’ meaning: I have to go pee.


As I remarked about this to Pat Hatt the other day in a comment on his blog, I thought I’d share it here and add a couple of pics too.
It doesn’t seem right that men didn’t have to pay to go, but apparently that’s how it was back then.
Aged 17 once I began travelling a lot of the country because of being in the army. I especially remember the Ladies toilets at Brighton Railway Station. There was always a woman attendant on duty night and day. The big brass locks were still in use and the big old style penny too. The ladies loos was a huge place where unaccompanied women could sit in comparative safety (and comfort) in armchairs or couches while waiting for their train departure times or, for one to arrive.
Spending a Penny facts.

A little bit of useless information because I like knowing where quirky expressions have their origin.

Shared with G Man’s Friday Flash 55