The Georgian House
The second room on this floor was used for washing clothes and sometimes for cooking. The laundry had its own water supply, pumped from the cistern or water tank below. Rainwater was collected, giving the Pinney family their own water supply.
At either side of the fireplace, also used for cooking, are the two wash boilers, with space underneath for a fire.
Once or twice a month in the summer, less often in winter, the dirty clothes were soaked over-night in wooden tubs, before being boiled in the wash boilers the following day. After rinsing in the stone sink the washing was dried, then draped around the poles under the box mangle.
The top of the wooden box mangle was filled with stones to give it weight. Two people were needed to turn the handle to move the box over the washing to press the bed sheets and table linen. Today, the box mangle stands in front of an old-fashioned washing machine called a ‘rocker washer’.
After washing, the laundry might have been carried to nearby Brandon Hill and spread out to dry on the grass or bushes in the sun. In the winter everything would have been dried indoors around the fires. Finally the clothes were ironed using a ‘box iron’. A separate piece of solid metal was heated in the fire, then put inside the hollow base of the box iron to make it hot.