Friday, 25 May 2012

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton, part 17 washday

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.

I want to return to stories of washday at our house sometime in the late 1920s.  It is something I have written about in the past.*

And today I want to share this picture.  It is the copper and I am sure that Mary Ann Scott would have used it on that wash day.  Not however this one. John tore out ours when he lived here briefly in the 1970s and this one sits in the cellar of our neighbour’s house.

But it is exactly like the one Mary Ann used and there was evidence in the grate of the last time it had been fired up.  I guess that might well have been sixty years ago.  Washing in the cellar would have been time consuming and heavy work.  The clothes would first have to be separated, then soaked before going into the copper and later still transferred to a tub beside the mangel, and then brought up to dry in the garden.   And each process would have involved rinsing the clothes in the sink, opposite the copper.  Until recently I never thought why the cellar floor slopes gently to the drain just outside the cellar door but of course there would have been plenty of water that needed to drain away.

Now Joe and Mary Ann may have used one of the laundries.  There was one at the bottom of Beech Road and another just around the corner on what is now Crossland Road.  Later still I guess they may have bought a washing machine.

Of course I have no way of knowing.  When John, Lois and Mike moved in after the death of Mary Ann there was only a cooker in the kitchen.  So it is just one of those mysteries which will never be solved.  And I suspect it won’t be long before this copper is also demolished and something of the history of wash day on Beech Road is lost for ever.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson


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