Trader suggests memorial toilet for cruising playwright

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Demand for new public toilets in the London Borough of Islington has been highlighted by a local trader who is suggesting they be dedicated in memory of famous resident Joe Orton.

The gay playwright, who was murdered by his lover at the height of his fame in 1967, famously used to cruise for sex in public toilets all over Islington.

The Angel area has a high concentration of bars and restaurants and a paucity of public facilities.

Local trader Mike Weedon’s suggestion of a blue plaque in memory of Orton on a proposed new toilet has been rejected by a local council leader.

“I think having a toilet with a blue plaque dedicated to him would suit his personality,” said Weedon, told the Islington Gazette.

“He did what he did because it was the only place he could do it in those days and I think it would show how attitudes have changed.

“We wouldn’t be celebrating cottaging, we would be celebrating how much more liberal we are these days.”

Islington Council deputy leader Terry Stacy rejected the idea of a blue plaque but admitted that more public toilets were needed.

Despite his professional career lasting a mere three years, Joe Orton is still remembered as one of the most talented and outrageous playwrights of the 20th century.

Entertaining Mr Sloane, Loot and What the Butler Saw took London by storm and established him as a major talent.

However, his jealous lover Kenneth Halliwell bludgeoned him to death in August 1967, then killed himself.

In 1987 Gary Oldman played Orton in a biopic, Prick Up Your Ears.