Fulham Wash house London

Fulham Wash house London

At the turn of the last century the majority of people did not have access to a bathroom,with only the upper classes having the luxury.The only option the working and middle classes had in the fight against grime was the tin bath,which was a laborious affair.Cold water would have to be boiled on the range and then after numerous trips to the cold water tap,the bath was finally ready.The bath water would then be shared with the whole family.Father went first, then Mum and once they had had their wash,you had yours in order of age.If you were unfortunate enough to be the youngest in the family,then you should be able to imagine the colour of the water!
It must have been heaven when wash houses were opened.Cubicles were 1st and 2nd class and each cubicle had a number.You were given a bar of soap and a towel for the princely sum of 6d which would equate to 2p today.My dad told me that if you wanted more hot water you had to shout out the number of your cubicle, “more hot in number 12” and the attendant would press a button and voila,more hot water would come out of the tap.Watch this short clip starring Tommy Steele (he was a popular British entertainer in the 1960s and 70s) when he goes back to the wash house he used to go to in Bermondsey London to see how the baths operated.


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