Bringing in the washing and putting away the clothes line
Tin baths hanging on the outside scullery wall of a small
1900s house. Note the typical cloth hat worn by the man in the garden. A
computer edited photograph of a TV showing the 1943 film Millions Like
Once the washing was dry, it was taken. It was not just left in a pile.
Since the fabrics were natural ones, almost everything needed to be
ironed. So, in preparation for ironing the
next day, every item of the wash was neatly folded.
Then the clothes line was looped up and
hung on a hook to make the garden look tidy.
How the work affected women
You can see how hard women had to work on washday. Tempers certainly frayed, and you can understand why. My
mother had to do her mother's wash too, as well as her own family's, and
this was by no means unusual in families.
If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo,
I would be pleased to hear from you.
Not only were women tired out, their hands were always chapped and red because of the washing and cleaning
that they did. Even on high days and holidays, when everyone was dressed up,
it was easy to tell which women did and did not have help in the home, just
by looking at their hands. There were no waterproof gloves.
This website Join me in the 1900s is
a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain
from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and
illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.