Historic inventor of world’s first toilet flush honoured in academy’s £200,000 state of the art toilets

By Jill Dando News

A school’s new £200,000 hotel-quality toilet block has been named after a 16th Somerset resident and Queen’s courtier who invented the world’s first ever flushing toilet

The Sir John Harington toilets were officially opened at The King Alfred School Academy by students, staff, Cllr Mike Facey, Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, and Cllr Peter Clayton, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council.

Sir John Harington

The state-of-the-art 16–cubicle toilets with futuristic hand washing, Dyson dryers and ceiling-driven heating are the latest improvement to the impressive campus at the high-flying Academy.

Centre right Cllr Mike Facey, Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, and centre left, Cllr Peter Clayton, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, with students and staff at The King Alfred School Academy

Sir John is an impressive Somerset historical figure and made history by inventing the first ever toilet flush and even used it at his own Manor House in the county. He was also a courtier to Queen Elizabeth the 1st as well as an author and translator.

Principal Nathan Jenkins said “We have been talking about this for two years since we joined The Priory Learning Trust. We want to give the students an environment which is nice, where they feel valued and like they belong. It shows we put students first and that they are at the heart of everything we do.

“We also wanted to honour a former Somerset resident who has quite simply made history by being the first person ever to invent a flushing toilet.”

Student Darragh said: “These toilets are hotel grade and fantastic. The history of them is significant with Sir John a Somerset man who invented the flush”

Cllr Mike, a former TKASA student and a plumber by trade, said: “I’m so pleased to be invited back to my old school to open this new, modern, state of the art toilet block which looks absolutely amazing. It is named after a very famous person who became knighted and who was from Somerset. This will be an asset to the building.”

Head of History Martyn Ellis, who celebrates 25 years at the academy this year, said: “We have a toilet block to be truly proud of. We thought it was right and proper to name these toilets after a Somerset man who we are very proud of.”

Sir John’s flushing toilet was called the Ajax which was then a slang word for toilet. It was forerunner to the modern flush toilet, had a flush valve to let water out of the tank, and a wash-down design to empty the bowl.

TKASA has had two excellent years with strong GCSE results, an impressive campus and a school-based sixth form that has doubled in size.