Poss Tubs and Mangles

When the coalman came you had to run out and take all the washing back in again.

A mangle is a pair of great wooden rollers the clothes go through, it squashes them and gets the water out. It was a wringer. The two wooden rollers were close together. A big handle was turned on one side, this turned the rollers which squeezed all the water out. There were no spin dryers. You know what it’s like when you pull your flannel out of the sink, it is all dripping. Well, that’s how clothes were and so you had to mangle them to wring the water out. No wonder the likes of us now complain about pains in our arms and legs! You used to get hold of a sheet corner and play it into your hand then, your mother used to fold it round and put it through the mangle, with someone at the other end to help. They were very tiring days. There was a tub for possing, a tub for rinsing and a tub for blueing all the whites. Then they were finished and hung out in the lane. When the coalman came you had to run out and take them all in. That was laughable, all you heard was somebody shout “coal”. The coalman came with a horse and the coal on the back of a cart. It was really dusty so, of course, what happened was the clothes could get really dirty.

In those days all the washing was heavy and hard to dry, we had a pulley in our kitchen, (I’ve still got a pulley now, and couldn’t do without it) everything took so long to dry, sometimes days. You waited for a special day to wash blankets when you knew it would be windy and dry. Some people liked to wash blankets in the spring with the winds, some people had a spring blanket wash and some had the autumn. It was never a real hot sunny day because people liked their blankets to get a blow.

Ironing used to be hard. Mother used to rub a bit of soap on the iron to make it glide.

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