News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.
Audrey Buxton and her sisters hoped to keep spiders at bay as they cleaned the outdoor toilet. Here Audrey recalls doing various household jobs in the 1950s.
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We just shared in household chores, if you like, but we didn’t think of them as chores. All the three of us were really frightened of spiders, I don’t know why because my mum and dad were not one bit bothered at all. They used to say “they’ll not hurt you”. When my mum used to be sharing jobs out, and I’m talking when we were about 8 or 9 years old, whoever used to clean the toilet, the other one used to clean the cellar steps because we had a cellar under the house to keep the coal in and then the other one used to donkey stone the steps which was like a whitening block to keep them clean.
So they were shared out evenly so one would wash the pots, others would wipe the pots and I think from about 7 year old I could make a victoria sponge, well we all could, when we got to that age we were taught how to do basic things, Yorkshire puddings and things like that. Going back to the oven it was also our source of heat for the bedroom because it had an oven plate and my mum used to take that out at night, when the fire had gone down a bit, when it had damped down a bit, and wrap it in an old woollen blanket. We used to take that up to bed. We used to have that in the double bed and then we used to have a stone bottle full of sand, that used to be put into the oven to heat up and usually Beryl in the single bed had that. If we shared it in the double bed there was a fight as to who would get the end with the cork in it because you didn’t get as much warmth on your feet at that end!