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The Bag Wash.

(54 Posts)
boat Sat 20-Apr-19 18:13:31

Does anyone else remember this?

You put your dirty laundry into a clean sack, tied the neck and took it to a shop. A week later you collected it (washed but a bit musty smelling).

I'm not sure when this started but by the mid 50s the launderette had taken over and I thought it was a big improvement.

Greyduster Sat 20-Apr-19 18:50:28

I remember women wheeling their washing, on prams, to the communal wash house next to the public baths. I never saw inside one, but they were the only facility some had to do the weekly wash.

glammanana Sat 20-Apr-19 19:15:07

My nana used to go to the wash house every Monday with her sheets but never the ones with the holes in them as the women would talk about you when you had left.

silverlining48 Sat 20-Apr-19 19:15:18

I knew my grans neighbour as Mrs Bagwash. I had thought that was her name but now realise it was her job.

Suki70 Sat 20-Apr-19 19:18:09

Yes, I remember the bagwash, we used it when we had our first house in South London in 1964. We left the bag of dirty washing on the doorstep, it was collected and returned a few days later. After a couple of years we had a burglary and my engagement ring was stolen. I used the insurance money to buy a twin tub washing machine and stopped the bagwash.
For work DH used to wear collarless shirts to which he attached stiff collars with studs. Dirty collars were left in the office for a company to collect, clean , starch rigid , then return them in a box. Most uncomfortable, I used to wonder how he could ever turn his head!

sodapop Sat 20-Apr-19 19:30:57

Oh yes Suki My father used to wear those collars too. I also remember men wearing sock suspenders and elasticated arm bands to keep their sleeves up.

phoenix Sat 20-Apr-19 19:56:20

Must have been before my time, or perhaps I just don't remember?

Born in 1958, can remember my Grandmother putting things though the wringer/mangle.

I think my panda must have been subjected to it, he did seem to get quite thin at one time sad

littleflo Sat 20-Apr-19 20:27:54

Bag wash and best wash. As a child I could never understand how they knew whose laundry was whose. We had ours collected and delivered. I loved the smell and the feel of the fresh best wash laundry. It was my job to take it out of the brown paper and put in the airing cupboard.

GabriellaG54 Sat 20-Apr-19 22:19:17

My dad had his shirts and collars laundered at the Chinese laundry which was near our infants and junior schools.
You could feel the blast of warmth as you passed the doors.
Our sheets were done there too and returned wrapped in a brown paper parcel tied with string.
I had heard of the bagwash but never knew of anyone who used it.
I was born in 1944 and that must have been near the end of using the communal wash-houses that were common in parts of Northern towns and cities.
Women would pile their washing into a sheet and tie the 4 corners together before putting it in a pram and going to the wash-house.

tinaf1 Sat 20-Apr-19 22:49:55

I remember the bag wash also but like Greyduster posts I used to go with my mum to the communal wash house next to public baths when we lived in East London. You hung the sheets and washing in massive drying cabinets when they were dry you would put the bedding through great roller machines to iron them them she would pile up the Pram and wheel the washing home. Then we got really upmarket and bought a twin tub 🙂

ninathenana Sun 21-Apr-19 08:57:45

This is all news to me.
Mum used to do her washing in "the copper". It would take all day on a Monday. Coming home from school the kitchen smelled of soap powder. We would have cold meat from Sunday roast and mash for dinner as mum had been to busy to cook.
I don't remember her having a hand wringer but nan did

annietelephant Sun 21-Apr-19 09:09:36

Oh the 50’s as a child I used to wheel the bag wash round to the Sunlight laundry every Monday. Went back to push a much heavier pram later in the week. Can remember the odd smell of the wet washing in a sack, and Mum’s laundry number JJ10. So long ago!

Nanafran Sun 21-Apr-19 09:14:21

Yes! Indeed. Not good memories for me.

Keeleklogger Sun 21-Apr-19 09:21:36

I remember my Nan washing every Monday with a dolly tub and a mangle, when she did the whites she used to throw in a blue bag

Carolpaint Sun 21-Apr-19 09:32:39

Yes I remember my mother taking our clothes to be 'Daisy Damp Wash'. As a Wren I wore beautiful very stiff starched collars and no they were not uncomfortable at all, you ran a white candle round the fold and they sat all day. They had to be very stiff, Chinese laundries got them perfect, any softness and they were not.

Hilmix Sun 21-Apr-19 09:32:54

My Mum would go to the wash house every Monday with the washing on an old pram. It only had three wheels...
I would go with her and sit with the other kids in a room away from the actual laundry. A woman served toast about two inches thick with plenty of butter, a real treat.
One day my Mum came home totally distraught,we all thought yet another row had broken out between the women but a little Down Syndrome girl had been lured into the street outside by a group of boys and set alight. Sadly, she died. Mum never went back, she couldn't even pass the street the wash house was in and we were told never to mention it, that's how many things were dealt with then.

chicken Sun 21-Apr-19 09:40:09

My Gran ran a little laundry in her back yard, mainly doing the laundry for the big houses on the other side of town. She was a trained ironer and would goffer the frills on the maids' aprons and headdresses. She also did other peoples laundry and the lowest and cheapest category was the bag wash, where a sealed bag of washing was boiled in the copper, rinsed and mangled then collected still wet. My mother used the term "Mrs Bagwash" as an insult about our nasty next door neighbour!

JanaNana Sun 21-Apr-19 10:11:26

Although our family didn't use it I can remember seeing women pushing prams to the Bag Wash. I was born in Yorkshire in 1947 and during the early to mid 50s it was quite a regular thing seeing women taking their laundry there. This was eventually followed by "going to Bendix" when some of the first launderettes became the way to do your washing. Women would still take a pram to carry it all in. We had a brick built copper in our kitchen so most of the washing was done at home, apart from the bed sheets which were too big to dry easily, which every week were sent to the local laundry and returned wrapped in paper and string. The paper and string were always kept to use for something else, probably a habit ingrained from the war years of make do and mend.

jacalpad Sun 21-Apr-19 10:19:41

When I was dealing with clearing my late mother’s belongings, I found a letter from from the fifties, from mum’s friend who lived with her mother in London. The friend wrote of how their boiler had broken down, and they had been taking their washing to a newfangled shop in the Main Street. Apparently you took your laundry there and they laundered it for you and gave it back all washed and ironed. The friend was in awe if the fantastic new magical service. It turned out to be one of the very first laundrettes in the country. The friend went on to say that she and mother had decided to continue to take just their sheets to this amazing place once the boiler was repaired! I wonder what she would make of today’s domestic automatic washing machines and driers!

ayokunmi1 Sun 21-Apr-19 10:32:50

To close to home this

Bijou Sun 21-Apr-19 10:35:56

I remember that there were Bag Washes but my mum did all our washing. Sheets etc were boiled up in the copper. We children helped to fold the sheets and put them through the mangle. If they were folded well they didn’t need so much ironing. A lot of things like table cloths and table napkins had to be starched.
Later she had a sort of washing machine but it was mechanical and had a handle to be turned by hand.
Like Carolpaint I had stiff starched collars when I was in the WAAF.

nipsmum Sun 21-Apr-19 11:33:37

I remember we had a coal fired boiler in the kitchen. Monday morning was the only day you got dressed in front of the fire. We always had mince for dinner on a Monday. We had a kitchen sink and fixed beside it a deep tub with a wooden bar where you
Fixed the wringer and it was put in the cupboard at the end of the washing day. If it rained on a Monday we had wet washing hanging everywhere until it dried. One time the clothes on the pulley in the kitchen went on fire because the baby sitter let the chip pan overheat.

Grannyguitar Sun 21-Apr-19 11:36:51

My sister and I used to wheel the bagwash up the road on our old pushchair, and fetch it back, damp, later in the week. Probably up until the late 1950's. There was another laundry further away which used the tagline "Don't Kill Your Wife, Let Us Do It!". Always used to giggle at that one!

mischief Sun 21-Apr-19 11:37:34

My parents had a guest house and Mum did all the washing, including sheets. She used a washing tub and copper posser and fixed a wringer to the edge of the sink. It was hard work. Eventually they bought a twin tub. Dad's stock joke was, "It's a Rolls Can'ardly, can roll down hills but can'ardly get up again". I think the joke was originally for cars. 😅

grandtanteJE65 Sun 21-Apr-19 12:07:37

My father's white coats, shirts and the towels from his consulting-room were sent to the laundry, the rest was washed at home, or sent to the bag-wash.

My mother always collected it as soon as it was finished if that was possible to avoid the musty smell which I remember well.

My father's suits, my mother's winter coat and our school skirts, blazers and coats went to the dry-cleaners about twice a year.