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Getting the Washing Done

It wasn't until the mid 1970s that I got a twin-tub washing machine!

Advert for washing machineI’ve lived in Longbenton for over 40 years, moving from The Battlefield area in Byker, where I was born and bred.  We lived in long terraces, and during the war we used the bomb shelters under New Bridge Street.  Even when I lived in Longbenton I came back to Raby Street Wash House and Public Baths, on the corner of Shipley Street and Raby Street in Byker, to do all the laundry.  I used to pack it all up and take it on the bus (number 18 or 19), including all the bedding.  It all had to be washed and dried in one day, before bringing it all home again.  It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that I got a twin-tub washing machine.

In the wash house there were huge drying racks for you to load your wet washing onto, then you pushed them in, and hot air started to dry it.  There were sinks big enough to stand in and you had to book a space to wash.  Other people used to send their washing out to other people to have it done, to a ‘washer-woman’, or a laundry.  Also, there were firms that would hire you a Hoover washing machine, for you to use in your own home.

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