How we used to live!

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Thread Topic: How we used to live!
Topic Originator: Mike Laughton
Post Date May 25, 2011 @ 8:02 AM
 How we used to live!
 How we used to live!
  How we used to live!
  How we used to live!

Mike Laughton
May 25, 2011 @ 8:02 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Until the council house building boom of the mid-20th century, most working people in Stamford lived in homes with no outdoor toilets and no indoor bathrooms.
Many of the rented properties in the town were owned by the Burghley Estate and although the rents were very low, the accommodation was quite primitive. (There were also many other small private landlords who had just a handful of properties).
Lavatories were always built outside the house and bathtime was in a tin tub by the fire once a week. When not in use, the tin bathtub would usually hang outside on a nail in the wall.
Electricity and modern plumbing didn't come until after the Second World War. I can remember when I was very small, coming home in the dark after a night out with the family. Dad would be the first to enter the house and he would strike a match to ignite the gas mantle which lit up the kitchen.
Hot water for the bathtub would be heated in kettles and metal buckets although later what they called a "copper" was used. The "copper" was a gas or electric tank with a tap on the front which heated two or three gallons of water.
Not only was the lavatory outdoors, there was also no flushing toilet. The earliest lavatory I can remember was a bucket under a wooden bench with the Daily Mirror being used as toilet paper.
Every few days a lorry would come round and the waste from the bucket would be emptied into it. (What a terrible job driving that thing!)
In the late 1940s/early 1950s the whole town got modern plumbing and flushing toilets and a proper sewerage system.  This was followed by a mass electrification of the whole town. So no more striking a match to light the gas mantle. We really thought we had luxury then.
And then when the new council houses were built - that was heaven on earth!

tony goodchild
February 11, 2013 @ 9:11 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I read your comments on how we used to live and totally agree with your comments.  I was born and brought up in No.7 Church Court, aBurghley estate property.  We also had no electricty, bathroom ,washing machines or any of the labour saving paraphanalia of today.  I remember vividly, as you mentioned, groping in the dark to light the gas, hoping the mantle had not broken, using the outside lav. very quickly in the winter ! The winters in the East were very different to what I experience now on the West coast of Wales. We are spoiled by the kind climate.  Laundry day then was every Monday when my Gran used to light the copper fire with rolled up newspapers and my job was to turn the handle on the huge mangle.  My children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren find it hard to believe this when I tell them this. Had a great childhood and early teens in Stamford and still remember it fondly.

John Tyers
February 13, 2013 @ 2:47 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

My mother was hauling the wet washing out of the dolly tub in the kitchen, mangling it and hanging it on the line in the rear garden to dry.  Between trips back and forth to the clothes line, my younger brother Jim then aged two fell in the dolly tub.  She came into the kitchen saw his little red wellies above the surface of the warm water and hoisted him out, gasping and spluttering.  Thankfully no harm was done other than a good soaking but I dread to think what could have happened if she had been delayed by one of our dear old nattering neighbour ladies!

Mike Laughton
February 14, 2013 @ 10:52 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

One thing I remember about having an outdoor toilet in wintertime! - When I was a small boy,  I used to like it when we had lady visitors because I knew that if they used the loo they would sit down and warm up the lavatory seat.
Strange what things you remember from your childhood.