The story behind an unusual sign at Margate Railway Station

The T S Eliot mural at Margate Railway Station Photo John Horton

If you have wandered into the waiting room on Platform One of Margate Railway Station a rather unusual sign may have caught your eye.

The mural – an anagram of writer T S Eliot’s name spelling Toilets – is also particularly topical in light of Thanet council’s sell-off of shut public loos, the closure of the ‘Clock Tower’ toilets due to structural issues and the proposal to run a community loo scheme with businesses offering facilities in exchange for payment from the authority.

The mural was designed by Oscar winning director Arnold Schwartzman OBE.  Arnold is an award winning artist and designer who grew up in Margate and supported the refurbishment of the Margate clock tower. He is also the Patron of the new Margate Art School project.

The porcelain tile mural  is 8.5ft by 5.5ft and was originally planned as a part of Turner Contemporary’s celebrations of T S Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land – part of which Eliot wrote in Margate sitting in the Nayland Rock shelter on the seafront in 1921.

The installation had been proposed as a painted stencilled mural on the seafacing side of the Nayland Rock toilet building.

But this plan fell through so producer and curator Kamilla Blanche asked if it could be displayed at Margate Railway Station.

Kamilla met with Arnold Schwartzman while working as a district director of Arts and Culture in his home city of Los Angeles.

Arnold, now in his 80s, was passionate about being involved in the project and so gave his time for free.

The T S Eliot mural was funded by the TS Eliot Foundation and Margate Civic Society for their 50th year anniversary.

The tile artwork was produced by Digital Ceramics Systems Ltd, which produces the porcelain tile murals for The London Underground.

All the tiles have been individually printed, mounted on a backing and then fixed to the wall.


  1. All well and good, but exactly where can anyone find a w.c. in Margate that’s near the beach or the High Street? What happens when the town is swamped by people during the Easter weekend,weather permitting,let alone when summer arrives; will the council provide toilet tents on the main sands, and building-site type w.c. cabinets in the town? Residents also need to use the facilities sometimes when out; presumably the various pubs are ok with members of the public coming in with their children to use their loos?

  2. Tried to use a toilet in a pub near the beach, was told if I buy something I could, so much for council twaddle.

  3. sorry, I wont be one of the shopkeepers opening my loos for the public. I doubt if many will. why clear up someone elses sand, sea and sh..

  4. Typical Thanet council shutting toilets everywhere in Thanet expecting the local businesses to be public toilets

  5. Try charging for use of public toilets – that goes some way towards offsetting the cost. I never object to paying for use of a clean public toilet.
    When I was a kid, we had to pay 1d to use the toilets on Margate beach – penny in the slot!

  6. T S Eliot overlooked that his name is also an anagram of litotes – a figure of speech meaning understatement. Quite appropriate really.

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