Thursday, 19 November 2009

In My Grandmother's Day

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Sue


Photos copyright: Maggie May

Although these photos were taken in the Black Country Living Museum in Birmingham, I can remember similar scenes in my Grandmother's home.
The fire range above with the brass fender round it was the heart and soul of my grandmother's back room. The coal fire used to be lit everyday, no matter how hot it was outside and I can remember feeling as though I was in a furnace when I was a child, visiting.
There was always a kettle on the hob, just like in the picture and sometimes there was washing drying or airing on the fender.

This was a typical kitchen scene but it was a room that was always called a scullery. There was cold water in the tap but any hot water had to be carried in from the fire.

This is just some of the equipment that was needed for washday. Notice the wooden rollers on the mangle and the dolly tub for rinsing that had to be hand filled. The dolly is the wooden paddle that had to be twisted by hand to agitate the washing. If you look above the mangle, you will see a tin bath hanging on the wall for the weekly baths (shared by all the members of the family) and all the hot water had to come from a small kettle heated on the coal fire. Understandably the bath was never very deep and the water was filthy by the time the last member of the family got in.

Notice the boiler in the corner for boiling up clothes. There is a space on the other side of the wall for a coal fire to be lit to heat the boiler. Think how that would be on a wet day, having to go outside and try to start a fire before the washing was even started.

The photo below was a typical toilet called a midden! It was just a hole with a bucket to catch everything. Fortunately, my grandmother had a modern outside toilet with a flush! The towns had sewers but out in the country the slops had to be buried.
Remind me never to moan again about my chores.







26 comments:

KLo said...

Wow, these give new meaning to the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words". I learned a great deal through your pics and explanations. Thank you : )

Honey Mommy said...

Really makes you appreciate our modern conveniences, doesn't it?

Rose said...

Although my grandmother's house didn't look like this, she had similar "appliances." Thinking of all she had to do just to do the laundry and cook, not to mention feeding the chickens and tending the garden makes me embarrassed to ever complain about having to do housework. I get upset if the dishwasher doesn't work:)

Chris said...

What an interesting post! We moved last year from a house that had a gigantic stove like that. It was so massive that we only used it as shelf space, and tied the doors shut. Lighting it up was enough to warm up the whole neighborhood -- unbearable!

Bernie said...

I love this post Maggie, although I have seen pictures like these I don't remember them as a child, just remember a wringer washer my mother used to use.....we are so fortunate today with all the applicances we have......:-) Hugs

Ayak said...

This could almost have been my grandmother's house Maggie. Your post has brought back such memories. She did have a midden..and I recall the story my mother used to tell about when she was about to give birth to me, she almost "lost" me down the midden as I arrived too quickly!

I also remember the gas mantles (sp?) for lighting in the downstairs rooms, and that for lighting upstairs we used candles.

We take so much for granted these days don't we?

Frau said...

No way I would have survived back in the day! I'm not going to complain either!!

Leah said...

What a great reminder of how women use to care for their families. I'll never moan again ;) eh hem...

Gill - That British Woman said...

What a great place to visit, and great photos.

Gill in Canada

Suburbia said...

Hee hee, this sort of goes with my moaning post today!! I'd have really had something to moan about if I'd lived way back then!!

Casdok said...

Wow its amazing how far we have come. I too will not moan with all the extra washing i have from C - its hard enough to keep up even with modern appliances!

Valerie said...

Great, great, great post! I remember (vaguely) the old ranges and boilers. A visit to Ireland in '54 was an eye opener ... there were a lot of the 'appliances' you showed.

Nessa said...

The last two are very familiar to me from my great-mother's house. I used to love taking baths in the wash (laundry) house.

Flash 55 - Favors

Eddie Bluelights said...

I remember the wooden roller mangle!! Do remember when I was little I got my finger caught and it split the end of my finger? Still got the scar! It looked just like the one in your photo. Boys will be boys eh! Eddie

Thumbelina said...

Wonderful trip down memory lane!
Thank you. :)

Moannie said...

Oh my! This is the very stove [or one like it] that I had to 'black brush' every morning when staying with my grandmother.

Mama Zen said...

Wouldn't you hate to be the last one in that bath?

Mimi said...

I enjoyed these, Maggie.
I often wonder how, when we have so much automated equipment nowadays, housework seems to take so much time, and to still be such a drudgery.

Wendy said...

What an interesting post, Maggie! I love taking a peek into the past. Now I know where words like "mangled" come from.

And scullery. I'd read books about scullery maids and figured it had something to do with the kitchen, but now I've seen actual pics of a scullery.

I'll agree with the others. I'll never complain about doing housework again!

Jeni said...

Okay, I confess I did very much enjoy seeing these pics and taking a nice trip down memory lane. However, I also think anyone who longs for the "days of yore" and thinks it would be wonderful, absolutely spectacular, to be able to go back in time and live as our ancestors did, should also read this post or see the area you photographed, in person, to fully get a grasp on what life was truly like back in the day!
I'll take my modern lifestyle -even with the mediocre conveniences I have here over all the things those folks back then had to contend with, for sure!

The Green Stone Woman said...

I have a tendency not to be nostalgic about the olden days, because I remember a coal fire heating our house very well when I was little and the amount of work it was to get it nice and hot and how cold the bedrooms were in the wintertime. The stove on your first picture is a thing of beauty, though. It is nice to visit places like this to make us appreciate what we have now. I do miss a nice fire in the wintertime, though.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

We have so much to be thankful for, don't we? Today, we lead such comfortable lives by comparison...When my husband and I lived in Surrey, we lived on a street that was undergoing a transformation. Many of the row houses had been modernized, including ours. But the 90 year old lady a few houses down still had the outdoor toilet, and would visit her neighbor for indoor showering...Loved this post, Maggie! Your photos are fantastic, and bring our history to life!!! Love you! Janine XO

Emily said...

Oh my goodness...makes me so happy for modern plumbing! I wonder how much coal they went through in a year?

Hilary said...

How things have changed in such a relatively short time. Great photos and commentary.

cheshire wife said...

Life is much more comfortable these days. We are very lucky on that score. It makes you understand why women traditionally did not go out to work. There was plenty to do at home!

MarmiteToasty said...

love this post :) this little house I live in had an outside loo with a bucket like in your photo and I have the orginal 'poo buckets' filled with flowers outside me front door LOL

x