Saturday 30 August 2014

The old laundry at Killerton

Figure 1
 This is not early modern but a nineteenth, stretching into early twentieth century laundry. It is a reminder that before electricity laundry techniques had changed little for centuries. The notes in the laundry indicate that on Mondays the laundry was collected, sorted, and entered into a laundry book. So they had a record of what had been laundered.

Figure 1: There is a wash copper heated from below, you can see were the coals were put in underneath to heat the water. To the right is a dolly tub with a dolly stick in it. Before the use of galvanised steel these tubs were made of wood. Garments were pounded using the dolly stick.

Figure 2
 Figure 2: This, according to the half vanished label, is a washing machine. A hand powered agitator would have fitted into the slot that can be seen at the back, and you can also see a drain tap at the bottom.

Figure 3
 Figure 3: Alternatively items could be washed in a sink using a washboard. Killerton sinks are distinctly up market as they have hot as well as cold taps.

Figure 4
Figure 4: After washing items could be mangled to get out the excess water. I have early memories of my mother and grandmother using one of these in the late 1950s, just before we purchased an electric washing machine with an integral mangle mounted on the top, so you could take the washing straight out of the water and put it through the mangle. 
Figure 5

Figure 5: Killerton being a grand house washing could be dried indoors in bad weather, in a drying cupboard. The drying racks pull in and out on runners, and the bottom of the cupboard has heated pipes to aid the drying.

Figure 6
Figure 6: Less up market families dried items on clothes horses in front of a fire.

 Figure 7: After drying comes ironing, and here is a selection of the flat and box irons, and a goffering iron on display at Killerton.

Figure 7

Several other stately homes have similar laundries which are on display to the public, for example Kingston Lacy in Dorset, Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion and Berrington Hall in Herefordshire

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