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Things we used to do.....

(15 Posts)
grannyactivist Mon 06-May-13 12:14:18

In our house only my mother had a toothbrush, shock we children cleaned our teeth with soot from the fireplace mixed with bicarbonate of soda - applied with a bit of rag or a finger. If we had no bicarb then it was salt and soot. The washing up was done in Daz or Persil washing powder, shockand apart from the very rare luxury of a silvikrin sachet (shared between me, my mum and my sister) we usually washed our hair with soap. Toilet paper was the Manchester Evening News; not even nicely cut up, but ripped from the paper that lived on the toilet floor!
If my mum was in arrears with the rent we used to have to hide behind the settee because the rentman would come and peer through the window and call out that he knew we were hiding.
I seem to have spent most of my childhood in a state of permanent embarrassment about the way we lived. blush

numberplease Mon 06-May-13 16:21:11

I remember my grandma saying that she used to use soot and salt to clean her teeth. Our toilet paper was newspaper as well, until my step-sister started work at the IZAL factory, then we used the hard, scratchy stuff!

Maniac Mon 06-May-13 18:18:23

Our toilet paper -in the outside loo was cut-up newspaper.
We didn't have a bath,shower or piped hot water.I have no memories of it but all my ablutions -until my late teens - must have been have been at the kitchen sink or in a zinc bath. We had showers at school after PE. We bought Soap Spirit (green soft soap in spirit\ from the chemists until 'Drene' and 'Amami' came along.
My first experirnce of a bathroom was when I went to Uni.

Goose Mon 06-May-13 18:57:30

Soot for teeth cleaning is an interesting memory. I also remember my nan rubbing it on her teeth and gums and when she died, in her 80's, she had all her teeth. I wrote a letter to 'Lush' cosmetics telling them this and they subsequently brought out a soot based black tooth cleaner (don't know if they still make it). The other thing my nan used to swear by (don't carry on reading if you have a weak constitution) was her own urine (collected overnight in the guzzunder) which she used as what would be the equivalent to a facial astringent (I don't think Lush were too interested in that one though grin

Tegan Mon 06-May-13 18:57:31

Same here; didn't have a bathroom of my own till I left home. Used the public baths a few times, though. Wonder if that's why we all went swimming a lot more in those days? Did everything I could to avoid the school showers blush.Something that puzzles me now though is why the toilets weren't permanently blocked with us putting newspaper down them?

Elegran Mon 06-May-13 19:11:41

Those overhead cisterns with the pull chains had a hefty flush, Tegan

Ana Mon 06-May-13 19:30:22

We've still got one of those!

Nonu Mon 06-May-13 20:24:13

You and me both Ana . wink

Hope the wink doesn"t mean to some posters we are in cahoots , or PMing

yogagran Mon 06-May-13 20:34:08

Back in the mid 60's I was in the middle of my flat sharing days in London. One flat that I was in had a broken geyser (remember those frightening things?). The landlord was very slow in getting it repaired and my flat-mates and I used to go into the hotels, even the "posh" Park Lane ones occasionally, and use their bathrooms. In those days hotels didn't have en-suite rooms and each floor had at least one bathroom that all guests shared. As long as you looked as though you knew where you were going you could wander in, take the lift or stairs to an upper floor and have your bath in luxury. We did this for several weeks and I was never once challenged. Mind you - thinking back - it must have looked very odd that an 18 year old went in to an hotel carrying a bag and came out again an hour later. Never gave that a thought though blush

Joan Tue 07-May-13 07:54:10

Gosh Yogagran - very innovative!!

We had the outside dry lav till I was 5: no problem with the torn up newspaper! But Mum stuck a bag on the lav wall and filled it with tissue paper that had been wrapped round oranges, and the tissue paper the bread came in, so our loo smelled of bread and oranges (among other things).

We got a council house when I was 5: such luxury - an upstairs bathroom and separate toilet, and another toilet just outside the back door. We still had the newspaper and tissue paper in the outside lav though, but Mum conceded to buying toilet roll for the upstairs one.

Now that I'm knocking on a bit and have to wee a lot more often, I feel so sorry for the oldies back then, having to wander outside in nighty and slippers. Of course, there was the guzzunder/jerry/po too, but you tried to avoid using them 'cos they had to be emptied, a job known as 'doing the slops'.

The best things of modern life are good plumbing, good doctors, and good dentists!!

kittylester Tue 07-May-13 08:18:57

Wish we still had a loo with a flush. We've got a 'fancypants' back to the wall loo with just a push thingy on the wall. Something has happened inside the wall and the water just keeps on coming. Now we have stopped it, we have to 'flush' the loo using the shower attachment on the bath. We do have other loos but that one is mine!!! We've only been waiting six weeks for the plumber angry

Elegran Tue 07-May-13 09:00:08

What wink is that, nonu? It is invisible to everyone else. Are you psychic?

annodomini Tue 07-May-13 09:23:01

Joan, you might add to your best things soft loo paper. grin

numberplease Tue 07-May-13 15:34:14

When we got married, our loo was shared, 3 toilets between 5 houses and a shop, but because we had to go down into the cellar to get out of the back door, then all the way across the communal backyard, we had a guzzunder, but emptying it was a most hated job! One night, when I was about 7 months pregnant, SIL and her hubby were visiting. Me and her were in the kitchen and the men and her little boy in the front room, and I was desperate for a wee, but didn`t want to go outside on my own in the dark, so SIL got the plastic bucket from under the sink and said "go on this", which I reluctantly proceeded to do..............and it split!! Result, one flood to clean up, and a hysterical SIL! Oh, and a new bucket to buy.

Deedaa Tue 07-May-13 15:54:19

When I was 10 we went to live with my grand mother. She had a nice 1930's semi, but when the gas water heater packed up we spent several years boiling pans of water on the stove for everything. No suggestion of getting it fixed or replaced. Presumably only really well off people did things like that.