Spinning Stories

Moving the washing machine by cqualmann
August 10, 2009, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Laundry Stories

Whilst talking about laundry today at the Boundary Estate Community Launderette research afternoon, I remembered moving a washing machine with my friend Becky almost exactly 10 years ago in Liverpool. We were moving out of our student flat on Gambier Terrace, which was about to be stripped out and refurbished. Ours was the last flat occupied and the landlord had told us we could take whatever we wanted – as they were just going to throw it all away. Becky was moving a few doors down, to a flat without a washing machine, so it seemed sensible……..

The old flat had a little laundry room in a small extension on the back of the building, with a double sink, the washing machine, and drying racks. You accessed it via 3 steps down from the bathroom. We began to realise the scale of the task on those first 3 steps – we managed to haul it up – but realised that we would need additional kit to get it down the 4 flights of stairs to the ground floor, down the 4 or 5 steps to the pavement, up the steps to the new front door, and down into her new basement flat.

In the end we got it down the stairs by sliding it down a plank of wood, with one of us holding it from above by a rope, and the other crouching underneath it using their shoulder to stop it from slipping out of control.

I cannot recommend this method.


Launderette by Sabrina Mahfouz by cqualmann
August 9, 2009, 9:58 am
Filed under: Contributions, Laundry Stories
The sweet chemical scent
of nature
bouncing fabric via drum beats
of forever

The peeling 
cardboard ceiling 
can't hide 
the dust-heavy 
that lead 
the way 
to a padlocked 
door and days 
they were given 
and no,
the laundry 
with the blue
doesn't work 
here anymore.

The foaming, funny smell
of people
whispering words and promises
of forever

Launderette philosophy by cqualmann
August 4, 2009, 11:14 am
Filed under: Contributions, Laundry Stories, Transcripts

It wasn’t exactly overhead.  It was half directed to me, a conversation between the launderette lady and another very old local lady that was in there.  They were, I don’t know, they must have been in their 70s.  The lady that lives near me near Murray Grove, and she had been away for a week or so and I’d gone to do my laundry.  And then she was saying there was a shooting just outside the shop.  Somebody was killed the other day just outside the shops over there and they were talking about it.  And then she started going on and on but what was the matter anyway, it was just a bit of piss and blood and vomit anyway.  That’s what makes the world go round and I thought that was…

Interviewer:            a bit of philosophy.

Respondent:            Yeah, wisdom.

Transcribed from an interview, August 2009

Memories of Laundry Rules by Jackie Qualmann by cqualmann
August 4, 2009, 9:40 am
Filed under: Contributions, Laundry Stories
In 1985 our family had a holiday in Florida, having the use of
the in-law's condominium. We had been given a huge list of dos
and don'ts, as this was a complex for seniors, and while younger
guests could stay for short times, most youthful behaviour was

However, five small children generate a mountain of washing
quite quickly, and this wonderfully equipped apartment did not
include a washing machine, as it could encourage hanging clothes
to dry on the balcony. I had washed out some small items from
the semi-continent younger members' wardrobe, and placed them
on the balcony for the shortest of times, as it was hot and

None of the neighbours could bring themselves to speak to us
about this indiscretion, but instead sent the caretaker up
with the manuel of condo etiquette. The offending items were
removed, and further washing out furtively hung about the

I never revealed the indiscretions in the swimming pool.

More about laundry rules here

The decline of the launderette by cqualmann

There’s this launderette on Mare Street or maybe it’s still Cambridge Heath Road, and I never went there but I always used to drive past in the bus.  And I noticed how there’s a line of 10 washing machines, or may be two lines, I can’t remember, but it was quite big.  And some of them would always have this little paper on them saying out of order, not working, out of order.  Every time I went past there would be more, and in the end all of them had this sad little out of order sign – there was like 20 washing machines at least – all out of order. Now it’s closed.

Transcribed from an interview, August 2009

Laundry talk by cqualmann
August 2, 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Contributions, Laundry Stories, Storytelling, Transcripts

Well I’ve used the launderette here in various different ways.  I’ve done my laundry here a lot and I find it very good because it only takes 45 minutes and it washes very thoroughly.  But at the moment what I’m doing is is doing my laundry at my friend’s house nearby because it’s free to use his machine.  The downside with that is that the cycle takes an hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes.  But what we do is either I go round and we talk and have a cup of tea for an hour and half and yesterday as my washing was on we spent about half an hour talking about planning issues because we’re both very involved in objecting to planning applications that we think are damaging to the estate.  That’s something we really care about.  And the other hour talking about online dating and whether we could face doing a profile of ourselves or whether speed dating was a better alternative as we’re both single.

The other option that happens when I do my laundry there is that I just take it round and leave it and my friend does it all for me. Basically including folding but… well he does get something out of his as he’s made it quite clear that he fancies me and that this is the closest he’s ever been to get to my underwear.  Something in it for both us.

Transcribed from an interview at the Boundary Estate Community Launderette, August 2009

Oral history from the Boundary Estate by cqualmann

At our first research morning we meet Doris, who has lived on or very near the Boundary Estate all of her life. She tells us that her mother, Kate Bright, worked at the Old Laundry on the estate, taking over the job in the mid 1950s from a Mrs Watson (or Wilson) who lived in the corner flat of Marlow buildings.