Market Lavington Museum

Drying the washing

Our two previous blog entries have focussed on washing clothes in Market Lavington about a century ago. Piped water only came to the village in 1937, providing people with a cold water tap over the kitchen sink. Prior to that the water for wash day had to be brought in from the well or pump outside, or carried in buckets from Broadwell or the dipping well near Northbrook. The water then had to be heated in the copper before the washing could commence.

Once the clean clothes had been lifted from the copper, they were soaking wet. Sybil Perry recalled how her grandmother dealt with them. “When the rinsing was completed, the items had to be either wrung out by hand to remove excess water, or put through a mangle, before being pegged out on the washing line – no tumble dryers! The housewife always hoped wash day would be fine and dry, as wet articles hanging about indoors were not easy to cope with.”

Sybil provided a drawing of a mangle in her Memories of Market Lavington.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a selection of laundry equipment on display, which includes a mangle.

If the weather was inclement on wash day, clothes might have been dried on an airer at ceiling level, like the one we have in the museum.

This is used for displaying (dry) garments, such as can be seen in A New Display for the New Season.

For more pictures of, and information about, our wash day artefacts, see Wash Day Items, A washing dolly, Another posser and Laundry Tongs.