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When I was a child in the early 1900s, the washing was always dried outside in the garden, provided the weather was reasonably fine. The rule of thumb seemed to be that if the pavements were dry and if there were no heavy clouds in the sky, out went the washing.
The washing was taken out into the garden in a cane basket. Then it was pegged onto clothes lines that were simply lengths of thin rope, slung between trees or hooks in the garden.
My mother and her next door neighbour would often find themselves in their gardens at the same time on Monday washday, and they would give one another cups of tea over the fence. I don't think there was time for much chatting.
The pegs were what were known as 'gypsy clothes pegs' because gypsies made them and came round knocking at front doors selling them.
Each peg was made from a piece of wood, split lengthways and held together with a nailed-on strip of tin can.
Each item of the wash had to be pegged in such a way that the wind would blow through it to blow out the creases. This was to make Tuesday's ironing easier. The collars of shirts would be bent taut over the line and pegged where the collar met the rest of the shirt, and pillowcases would be pegged at the open end loosely and on one side only so that they would billow out as the wind blew through them. Sheets were folded double and pegged at each end, with one side pegged taut along its whole length and the other side sagging slightly.
Once the clothes were pegged into position, the lines were propped up high in the air with wooden props so as to catch the wind.
Specially made props could be bought. Such a prop was a length of wood between nine and twelve feet long and about an inch and a half square with a slot in the top to hold the rope.
Some women, though, tended to use a suitably sawn-off forked trunk or branch of a small tree, as shown in the top photo, but these could be dirty to handle. They were most common in rural areas.
When the washing was reasonably dry, it was brought in and folded. If the wind had blown the sheets or tablecloths out of shape, I had to hold them while my mother tugged them back. With her greater strength, she would often pull them out of my hands. This made her very cross, and she would say, "Haven't you got any gumption?" I only learnt later much later that gumption meant energy and commitment. Yes, I did have gumption, but I was a few stones lighter than she was.
The whites were rolled up while they were slightly damp, ready for ironing the next day, and if they were too dry my mother would sprinkle them with water first.
The pegs were taken off the line and stored in the peg bag, the line was coiled and hung up in the yard and the clothes prop was lent against the house