ArtsLav is an arts venue located at Kennington Cross in Kennington, London, England. It started life as an underground Victorian gentlemen's public lavatory. It is now a listed and restored Kennington landmark used as a community arts facility, Artslav. Engineered by B. Finch and Co. in 1898. It went out of commission in 1988 during a period of public convenience closures in Lambeth.
Original features include: marble urinals, 3 cubicles, a glass water tank, a mosaic floor from the sixties, the attendant's booth, a ventilator shaft and horse trough.
Charlie Chaplin will have been one of its patrons in his childhood and writes about sitting by the lavs when locked out of his home.
In 2001 Lambeth Council described it as containing the following features of architectural and historical interest:
A fine stone cattle trough erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Trough Association in the 19th century (c.1880) – supported on four sturdy stone pillars.
Elegant black painted cast iron railings enclosing the stairway down to the former public lavatory beneath.
An imposing ventilation pipe over 6 meters in height – also of cast iron, mounted on a substantial black painted metal plinth.
It has been Grade II listed since October 2001.
It was featured on Disappearing London in January 2006, an ITV programme that highlighted endangered London landmarks.
After campaigning, led by Celia Stothard a local resident, and extensive fundraising fundamental repairs were carried our with electricity and water being re-installed in 2013.
Since 2013 it has functioned as a local community arts centre and a base for community employment projects. It has become a Community Interest Company run by local residents and artists.
There are threats to its existence as the local authority is considering putting it out for commercial use.