Anyone Remember the Washhouse?
UK delivery £4.40 - Free delivery on orders over £60!
Remembering, reflecting on and capturing a bygone ‘washhouse world’, in place, people and time. Washhouse world objects, sourced by the project, triggered anecdotes and sayings, stain removal recipes, improvised hand clapping and folk songs. A world remembered often as small children, through the handling and smelling of washing paraphernalia and hearing others’ stories.
Led by Ros Martin, the prototype is a co-operative with Gill Simmons, Mike Stuart, Pedda Borowski, Andrew Hart, Gill Greenwood and many others. Seven workshop participants Doreen, Pauline, Belinda, Mary, Gill, Pam and Silu, aged 60-75 years, were brought together by word of mouth to remember and share with each other. Participants engaged creatively with memories in movement, shadow puppetry, song and creative writing and expression in three 2-hour workshops over three months at Bristol 1904 Arts Park Row.
Anyone Remember the Washhouse? renders visible a less known working-class history of the Washhouse and the hard lives of the little people of this world, reconstructed from elders’ memories. In the process of coming together to share, we powerfully affirm ourselves and our forebears.
When I was growing up and for a long time, I had thought the word ‘WASHHOUSE’ was uniquely my late Caribbean mother’s quaint expression for the high street launderette, this was until she began regaling her memories to us, her adult children, in her much later years. She had become quite frail and infirm, wheelchair-bound but still very lucid. She took great pleasure and pride in recalling her memories. It brought a smile on her face and clearly much joy.
One memory she regaled was that of St Pancras, Prince of Wales Road, Washhouse, Kentish Town, London, from the late 50’s and early 60’s when she first arrived in the UK from St Lucia. She rose to the challenge of raising us five children in two rooms, a shared cooker on the landing and no bath. We small children bathed in a galvanise whilst the adults frequented St Pancreas bathhouse. None the less, we were immaculately turned out. My mother would make our clothes and her own, she was a seamstress by trade. St Pancras Washhouse was the place she looked forward to going most. For every week, she would meet up with her girlfriends and spend the day there.…..
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