When the leftovers of yesterday’s dinner was turned into a stew, Cornish pasty or served as cold meats.
Washing Day. Father would set the fire under the setpot or copper so that mother could start by boiling the whites. She had already scraped the yellow block of scrubbing soap, and puts the strips in, stirring to make sure that they melted down. Then she would lug out the steaming, heavy sheets and shirts, using wooden tongs, into the dolly tub for possing – with collars and cuffs getting special attention on the scrubbing board. Meanwhile, the coloureds were bubbling away before the Woollens were dealt with. Later, the starch was prepared ready to put on after rinsing with dolly blue. And all this had to be carried to an outside line or, if it was raining, hung on the rack above the range fire. But, if mother worked, she came home to the ironing which followed a Saturday wash. And in the evening, mother would darn socks to the light of the gaslamps, and boil water to fill the stone water bottles.
Children made their way to school, most of them apprehensive about another week with little chance to play. Their clogs clattered on the flags whilst the more adventurous boys made sparks frightening the younger girls. Some children wore plimsols but no stockings, and their legs were blue in the cold. We looked for the milkman on his rounds, and we would stop to stroke his grey horse whilst Mr Baker poured milk into customers’ jugs.
At school, we had to learn by rote, and mornings started with times tables and, mental arithmetic. On hot days. The milk would be warm and on really cold days, it would freeze the top off the bottles, and milk tasted of water. The girls would play games in the yard: skipping, hop scotch, leap frog or tig rounders. Some of the older pupils had country dancing lessons at dinner-time, or the big girls did sewing: some of their place mates would never be finished.
From a book of Memories compiled by Kathryn A. Booth.
This book of memories is compiled from the stories told about life around the time of World War 1. It is used in some Senior Citizens homes to help recall memories of times past. If you would like to add any of your families memories from this time, please use the contact form below.