The Living Memory Association

Edinburgh's Reminiscence Project • Established 1986

Reminiscence video, Episode 2: Washing Days

Also available on our YouTube channel

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Did you ever use a washboard or was there one in the family? What size was it? Was it hard work to use?
Did the children ever get involved in the washing? How many bits of clothing would you go through at a time? Did you buy a new washboard or was it passed on from generation to generation?


Did you own a washing dolly?
Is there anyone who washed their clothes in a different way? Without using a washboard or a dolly?


Did you use a washhouse?
Can anyone remember how much it would cost to use the washhouse?
How would you carry your washing there?
How long would those old washing machines take to clean your washing?
Would you go with friends and have a chat whilst the washing was on or would you go and do something else?


Did you have a mangle in the house? Was that a job you did yourself or was it passed on to the children?
Do you remember any accidents with the mangle?
Did the man of the house ever get involved with the washing or drying?
Where would you hang the washing up?
Who remembers the change from wooden pegs to plastic?


What did you use to iron your clothes?
What kind of iron was it? Does anyone remember the make?
Did you have any ironing tricks to make your clothes pristine and smart?
What did you iron on? A table or an ironing board? Where was it stored, can you remember? And what would be in there with it?


Who remembers their first washing machine? What kind was it? And do you remember how much it cost?
Did other families in your street have them first? Do you remember the person who was first to buy one?
Does anyone remember actually choosing the machine?
Did you get one delivered or did you have to get it from the shop to the house?
What did you think when it first arrived?
What kind of difference did it make to your life?

What kind of washing powder did you use?
Do you remember any adverts for washing powder?
And how much would you pay for it in those days?

What was it called and what do you remember of the room in your house where the washing was done?

Additional Information

‘Washing was always taken in at night, and never hung out if there was a wedding or funeral. The pushchair was probably used to transport the laundry from the local wash house.’ (Jean Bell, née Bottomley)

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