Our History

In 1977 James & Janice Williams founded Sitting Pretty in Fulham with Edward Willis Fleming. They had found it impossible to find a wooden loo seat in London and decided that there was a need to fill the gap. They started making high quality seats in Mahogany with brass hinges and offering the service of painting family crests, racing colours and monograms onto the lids to make interesting and amusing gifts. Working from a basement in Fulham they soon expanded the range to offer a variety of different timbers and hinge finishes and eventually a range of different shapes. In 1980 they took the shop premises above the basement and became one of the first sellers of antique bathroom pieces, from brass taps through flower-patterned loos and basins to cast iron canopied baths. When the demand outstripped supply of the genuine article we were one of the first to design and manufacture our own range of reproduction sanitaryware with the much lauded Art Nouveau "Imperial Suite" followed by the Art Deco “Priory Range”.

Bespoke Painted Loo Seats

In 1992 it became necessary for family reasons for James & Janice to return to their home and farm in Oxfordshire and they sold the Fulham shop in order to be able to concentrate on the core business of making high quality traditionally crafted wooden seats. At this time they changed the name of the business to Tosca & Willoughby in order to save any conflict and confusion with the bathroom shop which remained in Fulham, though has now moved to Surrey. They have been building this business from a redundant barn on the family farm ever since and continued to supply Sitting Pretty with wooden seats for some years.

Tosca & Willouhgby Oxfordshire Farm

We do retain the name Sitting Pretty Ltd, although we now trade under the name “Tosca & Willoughby” and do still make the original and genuine “Sitting Pretty” wooden loo seat to the same exacting standard and quality as thirty five years ago. All the finishing is still done entirely by hand with a brush. Our hinges are hot stamped (forged) in Birmingham from solid brass billet from our own dies. Our seats and all their major components are entirely made by hand in England.

We are the only specialist manufacturer of wooden loo seats that still makes and finishes their seats using the traditional hand methods, including a hand-brushed finish, and has been continuously in production in the UK for over thirty five years. When we started in 1977 there was no other place to buy a wooden loo seat in London and no internet, but of course it was not long before they became hugely fashionable and the market has been flooded with cheap imported seats – some of which are only “wood” in the very loosest sense. We have always resisted going down that particular path and continue to make only the very best wooden seats in the world. A long time ago we had a customer in London who when asked why he was buying his seats from us replied that he wouldn’t buy a tie in a department store, so he certainly wouldn’t buy something as important as his loo seat anywhere other than us!

Wooden Loo Seats Made by Hand

The Environment

We are very conscious of the environmental issues surrounding Mahogany and other tropical hardwoods and do our best in our purchasing policy to act responsibly in this complex area. We are most careful to use Mahogany from demonstrably responsible and renewable sources, and use small dimension logs. However, to be as ecologically sound as possible, we would recommend our clients consider the use of endemic English or European temperate hardwoods, of which we are able to supply an extensive range including Oak, Ash, Elm, Beech, Maple, Walnut, Sycamore and Cherry. These seats come from managed forests and positively help our rural economy and enhance the countryside we all like to enjoy.

Name & Registered Office:

Tosca & Willoughby Limited
Home Farm
Aston Rowant
Oxfordshire
OX49 5ST
Company No. 01445648

© Tosca & Willoughby 2014

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