Esoteric London

No. 785: Great Queen Street, WC2

Posted in Architectural, London Labour by esotericlondon on March 1, 2013

© Roger Dean _ROG1004 copy

Freemason’s Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

The Shops and Companies of London and the Trades and Manufactories of Great Britain – Henry Mayhew, 1865: 

Mr Harper Twelvetrees’ Manufactory, Imperial Works, Bromley-by ­Bow, London, where are manufactured ‘cheap materials for the laundry’, including penny packets of soap-powder – one of the announcements concerning the ‘abolition of the horrors of washing-day’ by the use of his detergents:— A Friendly Bit of Chit-Chat between Mrs Scrubwell and Mrs Thrifty.
   Scrubwell. Good morning, Neighbour Thrifty. How are you and your family? But how is this? I understood you had your ‘week’s wash’ today, and I expected to find you ‘up to the elbows’ in suds; instead of which, here is a clean dry house, and the dinner-table all in apple-pie order, ready for your husband on his coming from work. Are you going to put off your wash till next week?
   Thrifty. Why, neighbour, I have done my washing! I began at a little before 9 o’clock this morning, have washed every rag of clothes, and look, there they are on the lines in the garden, nearly dry.
   Scrubwell. Well, I am surprised. But do you mean to say that you have washed all that lot of clothes this morning? Impossible, surely!
   Thrifty. Impossible or not, it is quite true.
   Scrubwell. You amaze me, neighbour. How have you done it, and who have you had to help you?
   Thrifty. Oh, it is easy enough to get rid of the slap-dash, steam, and dribbling-slops on a washing-day, in good time. I can always make quick work of my washing by using ‘Harper Twelvetrees’ Glycerine Soap-Powder’, and it makes the clothes beautifully clean and white too, I assure you. I scarcely ever rub our clothes now, and you know how black my Jim’s shirts get at the Foundry.

[ The photograph above is of a detail on one of the internal doors in Freemason’s Hall in Great Queen Street, London.

The text was sourced from the excellent website http://www.victorianlondon.org that can be visited by clicking here. R.D.]

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