Toilet activists are sharing codes for cafe lavatories online

Website shares London coffee shop lavatory codes among people who don;t want to pay to spend a penny

  • London Loo Codes has created an online spreadsheet with toilet access codes 
  • The group was started by Sophie Bowley-Aicken, 33, and Merlin Jobst, 28 
  • Idea has been adopted by nine other cities including Edinburgh and Oxford

A new group of activists is taking London by storm and making spending a penny completely free, by posting codes online that let the public use toilets in cafes for free. 

The group, named London Loo Codes, has created an online spreadsheet that reveals the numerical codes needed to unlock toilets in establishments that people would otherwise have to purchase something to be given. 

From Pret a Manger to Cafe Nero and even Waterstones, more than 150 locations across the capital are included in the group’s cheat sheet. 


London Loo Codes, started by Sophie Bowley-Aicken, 33, (pictured) and Merlin Jobst, 28, has created an online spreadsheet which reveals toilet access codes

Sophie Bowley-Aicken, 33, who works in publishing, and Merlin Jobst, 28, a freelance writer, started the group to bring awareness to the lack of public toilets. 

And the idea has been adopted by nine other cities: Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Cardiff, Reading, Dublin, Toronto and Seattle. 

The lists contain the codes needed for access to toilets in various establishments, their addresses and information on disability access. 

Ms Bowley-Aicken told The Times: ‘We’re not asking for a glamorous luxury, no one would argue that campaigning for toilet access is a frivolous excess. 

The lists contain the codes needed for access to toilets in various establishments, their addresses and information on disability access. Pictured is the group’s logo 

‘However, in a city which is making admirable efforts to be open and inclusive, a lack of loos is a real setback to progress, and the popularity of our campaign is a direct reflection of this, particularly in the support we’re receiving from those with chronic illness and disability.’

In the 10 years before 2006 and 2016, some 1,782 public toilets were closed across the UK, according to the BBC. 

The group’s favourite loos are at Japan House, in Kensington. A code isn’t required for access and the toilets boast heated seats and water jets, which act like a bidet. 

In the 10 years before 2006 and 2016, some 1,782 public toilets were closed across the UK, according to the BBC. Stock picture

Although the group hasn’t received any complaints, Ms Bowley-Aicken said that some businesses had put up signs saying they would be changing their codes more often and encouraging users to keep codes ‘secret’. 

The pair have called for access codes to be removed from toilets altogether. 

Ms Bowley-Aicken said: ‘As a society we need to work to address this but in the interim, if the significant network of chain coffee shops that populate our city would open their toilets to everyone we’d have made huge progress in addressing this need.’   

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