Mrs Smiths Banner
Skip Navigation Links

Be Prepared!
You need some serious equipment
The dreaded scrubbing board and tongs
Image: Web_100527
The Dolly Tub
Image: DollyTub_00519
The small Posser
Image: Web_00518B
The soap to be shaved for suds
Image: Web_Soap_100559
The mangle - watch your fingers!
Image: Web_Mangle_00530
The old split pegs
Image: Web_Pegs_100547
The washing basket
Image: Basket_00515
The washing line
Image: Web_Washline_100541
And, of course, a beautiful, dry Monday
Tuesday will be for ironing
© 2011


Several times each year we organise a popular Special Event enjoyed by kids of all ages and parents too. As well as being fun it is a hands on history lesson in how great grandma took care of the laundry.

Mrs Smith never invested in modern laundry equipment but relied on the old fashioned Dolly Tub, Dolly Peg, Posser and Mangle to achieve the same result before hanging everything on the line stretched from the house to the apple tree.

For this event we go all the way with the details - right down to shaving a bar of soap and bags of 'Blue' for the whites. The only concession is to use warm water instead of the steaming hot tub grandma would have thought necessary. The boys enjoy the day when they see the serious muscle needed to pound the wash with a posser and turn the mangle. Everyone has a grand time and gets a bit wet!

Appropriate Dress Code
Image: Web_00506D
The first order of the day is to get everyone suitably dressed - Victorian Smock and Bonnet for the girls - Flat Cap and a Waistcoat for the boys.
Perfect Victorian children
Image: Web_100549
Teacher tells the story of Mrs Smith's washday
Image: Web_00508
Paul Smith, our volunteer teacher for the day, tells the story of Mrs Smith's day of washing which was far from a matter of stuffing the machine with clothes, setting the temperature and cycle, turning it on and going back to bed. Washing took most of the day - usually a Monday - and if it rained perhaps most of Tuesday as well. This is followed by an Itsy-Bitsy-Spider sing-along to set the mood.

Remember the moves to Itsy-Bitsy-Spider?
Image: Web_100564

Image: Web_00504B
The staff and parents get into the mood with aprons and memories of helping mother or grandma in the old days.
Then it's down to the Hard Work
Sorting the clothes
Image: Web_00514A
Shaving the soap
Image: Web_100572A
Loading the dolly tub
Image: Web_100531
Plunging the posser
Image: Web_00518A
Some serious scrubbing
Image: Web_100581A
Working the mangle
Image: Web_100582
A bit of a rest
Image: Web_100589
And hanging out on the line
Image: Web_100594
And back for another load
Image: Web_100595
A drink and a quiz
Image: Web_100600B
To end the session, we have juice and biscuits and a quiz about the day's events. Altogether, a grand way to spend a few hours - and a useful lesson on how fortunate we are to enjoy life with all our modern gadgets.