Spinning Stories

Spinning Stories walk by cqualmann

Some photos from this morning’s guided walk, thanks to Barney Hewlett for taking these.

If you’d like to do the walk you can pick up a printed guide at The Women’s Library,

or download the PDF version here you’ll also need the map PDF version here.

1. Setting off from The Women’s Library


2. Rothschild Arch


3. Bengal Cuisine, site of Cash Wash Launderette


4. Bangla City Cash and Carr, site of the Russian Vapour Baths



5. St Anne’s Church



6. Cheshire Street Baths, Abbey Street Laundry


7. Smarty pants Launderette and Dry Cleaners



8. Princess Launderette



9. The Old Laundry, Boundary Estate


10. The Boundary Estate Community Launderette



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.

Laundry rules by cqualmann
July 30, 2009, 8:03 pm
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A common thread seems to be the disapproval surrounding hanging out laundry in public view – which continues today with blocks of flats that forbid the hanging out of washing on balconies and in stair wells – though this is of course often ignored!



Spontaneous Combustion – Laundry and Cleaning news by cqualmann
July 6, 2009, 4:44 pm
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This article, by Richard Neale, dated February 2002, is entitled ‘Statistics reveal more tumble dryer fires’ and explains the theory behind spontaneous combustion in tumble dryers:

“Most incidents of laundry fires are still thought to involve spontaneous combustion of unremoved protein soiling from within cotton goods. The oxidation reaction can start very slowly at quite low temperatures in a stack of warm, clean work. It often only gets up to speed after several hours. This is why flames may not appear until the middle of the night.”

Laundry/washing idiom by cqualmann
May 22, 2009, 1:40 pm
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(it’s a) wash out/ washed out

(it’s a) wash up/ washed up

hung out to dry

Airing dirty linen

Washing dirty linen

It will all come out in the wash

Put through the wringer

Wringing your hands/neck

Wring something out of someone


Laundering (money)

It won’t wash

I wash my hands of you

wash that man right out of my hair

‘Dirty Linen: couples and their laundry’ by cqualmann
March 26, 2009, 8:56 pm
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This book, by Jean-Claude Kaufman, reports on a French sociological study of couples and their relationship as defined through their attitudes to Laundry:

“The trail of laundry leads us into an extraordinary conjugal landscape; one where gestures say the opposite of words and words the opposite of thoughts; where speech becomes a way of remaining silent and silence a form of speech; where laughter and tears carry an identical message; where skills are paid for dearly rather than being rewarded, where the capacity to give also has its price; where the defence of personal interests defines the joint rule; where only a part of the individual becomes part of the unit represented by the couple, the other part continuing to live its own life; where the two lives of the man give rise to a social guilt individually felt; where the two lives of the woman form the trap which closes in on her.

The laundry trail also reveals that this landscape is being turned upside-down, particularly in its early stages; people do not form a couple in the same way they did one or two generations ago, nowadays integration into the couple is a slower and much more complex process. The couples attitude to the laundry plays a central part in that change; it is no coincidence that ironing is often a contentious subject within the couple, that wearing jeans or buying a washing machine should now be seen as an indicator of commitment. The laundry trail enables us to understand why the idea of sharing out the household tasks equally between men and women is still rarely translated into reality, why, even with the best intentions, the two partners slip back into inequality. The answer lies in observing the actions which tell the opposite story to words and ideas.” extract from Middlesex University Press’ website