Bella

On washing days two families shared a wash house where there was a tub pos-stick and a boiler. The boiler would need to be lighted early morning.

Bella Aged 17

Bella Aged 17

I was born in 1909 at Percy Main where I grew up; I remember spending Sundays on the Lonnen and people being allowed to play on the Makepeace Farm field.

I went to Church at St John’s Church Percy Main and attended Percy Main Council School with my five brothers.

In those days women didn’t work, they stayed at home and looked after their families.  It wasn’t easy – for instance, on washing days two families shared a wash house where there was a tub, poss-stick and a boiler. The boiler would need to be lighted early morning.  First, the clothes would be washed, next came the scrubbing followed by the rinsing and finally a rinse in Dolly Blue.  The clothes were then put through the big wooden rolls of a wringer that usually stood out in the yard and sometimes it took two to turn the handle to get the sheets and blankets through.  Lastly, the clothes would be hung out in the back lane on a line supported by a long prop.

Sometimes you would just get the clean washing pegged out and down the lane would come the coalman with his horse and cart piled high with one-hundredweight sacks of coal.  We would then have to run into the lane and raise the props as high as we could so that the horse and cart could pass underneath.

There was often ructions on, as occasionally a snowy white sheet would trail over the tops of the coal bags. That reminds me of a women from the next street to us.  She would carry her mats into our back lane to shake them.  My mother caught her one day doing this just after she had pegged out her wet sheets.

If you've enjoyed this memory and would like to share a story of your own why not go to our Contact Page to find out more.