A country washday
Posted by Valerie Mc. on February 02, 1998 at 08:06:34:
In response to Sending out wash, written by Peg on February 02, 1998 at 07:29:52
Here's a description, from Lark Rise to Candleford, of a 19C washday, which may explain why some people wanted to get it out of the house!
Miss Lane still kept to the old middle-class country custom of one huge washing of linen evry six weeks. In her girlhood it would have been thought poor-looking to have had a weekly or fortnightly washday. The better off a family was, the more changes of linen its members were supposed to possess, and the less frequent the washday. That was one reason why our grandmothers counted their articles of underwear by the dozen (written in the 1940s). And the underwear then in fashion was not of a kind to be washed out in a basin. It had to be boiled and blued and required much ironing...
All day on the two washdays, steam and the smell of soapsuds came in great puffs from the window and door of the small, detached building known as the 'wash-house', and the back yard was flooded with waste water flowing down the gutter to the open drain...
All went well if the weather happened to be fine. If not, very much the reverse. The old country saying which referred to a disagreeable-looking man or woman: 'He' -or she- 'looks about as pleasant as a wet washday' would have lost its full flavor of irony if used in these days...
The rest of the week was spent by the family in folding, sprinkling, mangling, ironing and airing the clothes.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.