Several times each year we organise a popular Special Event enjoyed by kids of all ages and parents too. As well as being fun it is a hands on history lesson in how great grandma took care of the laundry.
Mrs Smith never invested in modern laundry equipment but relied on the old fashioned Dolly Tub, Dolly Peg, Posser and Mangle to achieve the same result before hanging everything on the line stretched from the house to the apple tree.
For this event we go all the way with the details - right down to shaving a bar of soap and bags of 'Blue' for the whites. The only concession is to use warm water instead of the steaming hot tub grandma would have thought necessary. The boys enjoy the day when they see the serious muscle needed to pound the wash with a posser and turn the mangle. Everyone has a grand time and gets a bit wet!
Appropriate Dress CodeThe first order of the day
is to get everyone suitably dressed - Victorian Smock and Bonnet for the girls - Flat Cap and a Waistcoat for the boys.
Perfect Victorian children Teacher tells the story of Mrs Smith's washdayPaul Smith, our volunteer teacher for the day,
tells the story of Mrs Smith's day of washing which was far from a matter of stuffing the machine with clothes, setting the temperature and cycle, turning it on and going back to bed. Washing took most of the day - usually a Monday - and if it rained perhaps most of Tuesday as well. This is followed by an Itsy-Bitsy-Spider sing-along to set the mood.
Remember the moves to Itsy-Bitsy-Spider?
The staff and parents get into the mood with aprons and memories of helping mother or grandma in the old days.
Then it's down to the Hard Work
Sorting the clothes Shaving the soap Loading the dolly tub Plunging the posser Some serious scrubbing Working the mangle A bit of a rest And hanging out on the line And back for another load
A drink and a quizTo end the session,
we have juice and biscuits and a quiz about the day's events. Altogether, a grand way to spend a few hours - and a useful lesson on how fortunate we are to enjoy life with all our modern gadgets.