When I got married in the sixties I did not have a washing machine. They were about but not for a struggling newly married girl like me. We lived in an upstairs flat and did not have a washing line. The flat we rented was brand new and in the kitchen the Council had provided an electric clothes dryer with the flat. It was like a big box with a few rails inside to hang the clothes. Well, they used to come out stiff as a board. I used to look out of the window and feel very jealous of my neighbours with their washing blowing in the wind. I used to do the washing in the sink by hand, even the sheets and towels. How, I’ll never know!
When our baby came along, we bought a Baby Burco
. It was a drum shape that you filled up with water and it heated it up until the temperature was as hot as you needed. I used to boil all the baby’s Terry nappies in that. It also washed the sheets and towels. It came with wooden tongs to remove the hot items. Not long after buying the Burco we bought a drum shaped spin dryer. When you put the round lid down it would start spinning and when you opened it would stop and wow! Did it spin. None of my spin dryers in later washing machines has spun as dry as that used to. I felt the cat’s whiskers now that I had the Baby Burco and a spin dryer.
When the baby was nearly a year old the council rented us a two bedroom terrace. I now had a garden. The pleasure I got from hanging and seeing my washing blowing in the wind. It was around about this time Launderettes
were springing up. Shops that had washing machines installed and people used to take their dirty washing and wash it themselves. However as I did not drive then I wasn’t going to carry my dirty washing on the bus.
Instead I found out you could rent washing machines. So, for ten bob, Oh that’s 50 pence by the way, paid weekly,
my first washing machine was delivered. I was so excited. It was all in one and had a well for the water to wash and a spin dryer next to it. So, when the wash had finished I would pull out the clothes and place them into the spin dryer. So I carried on like that for the next few years. A man would knock on my door every Friday and collect his ten shillings (50p) for the rental of my twin tub.
Some time into the seventies we bought on the ‘never never’ our first washing machine and it was an automatic. ‘Never never’ was a slang word for buying something but paying for it weekly or monthly. Some things never change. I thought it was something from the space age. You turned the dial to ‘delicates’ and all by itself it would wash, rinse, and spin ever so gently. I would stand and gaze at it in wonder.
Today, I have a washer dryer. Not so different really from that first one but this does the whole job. I wonder when they will invent one that also does the ironing!