First Picture:A typical Laundrette shop sign
Second Picture:That Levis advert!!!!!
Yet another school friend to join us, a big welcome to Robert Webster.
My Wonderful Laundrette
One innovation which came our way during our youth, before the days of the automatic washing machine, was the introduction and rapid spread of the laundrette. These new fangled washing places seemed to pop up all over the place. The nearest one to my childhood home was the one in Cosham High Street, although I do believe that one did open a little nearer but Mum had got used to the Cosham one, she said she knew the machines, so we always used that one. My parents never owned a washing machine in their lives although my mother did submit to having a Hoover Spinarinse to help with the home wash. She preferred to hand wash in the sink and boil the whites in a large container on the cooker. After my father had managed to persuade her that actually taking your washing to the laundrette was not like washing your dirty linen in public, it was then a scout round the house to find as much washing as possible to get the best value for money from the machine. Having found enough large bags to pack it all in we then took the car, a grey Truimph Herald 948cc 186 COU, on a family excursion into Cosham, but Mother always insisted that this trip was to be in the early evening when there would be fewer people about.
Having arrived at the place we loaded the top loading machine with our washing and bought the little packet of washing powder (there was a sign hung above the machines which said that you were not allowed to bring your own washing powder as it was not compatible with the washing machines, I suspect that was just a rouse to get you to buy their expensive powder), it was a case of just sitting there watching the washing go round. Actually as the years rolled by the little packets of washing powder disappeared to be replaced by bulk machines which dispensed the powder into little paper cups.
Of course whenever we went, there was always a barrage of advise from those already in the place, “Don’t put that shirt in with those sheets”, “That will need a hot wash not a cool one” and “If I was you I would not put anything like that into a washing machine”. After the wash there was the scramble to get a dryer ( have you got a 2/- piece for the machine please?) and then again we sat down to more watching. When the dryer had completed its job it was time for the emptying and folding. Now this had to be done with your back to the other washers so that you could hid your smalls or badly worn sheets from prying eyes, my mother used to go to great lengths to preserve her privacy in the place. What was the lingering memory of these washing evenings? Mainly the warm soapy smell and the utter boredom of watching the clothes tumble round and round and.
The very first UK laundrette was in opened in Queensway, West London in 1949, if they had been introduced in the 1980’s I suppose we would have had to put up with names like Suds-You-Like !!!!!
But in the last 25 years, the number of launderettes in the UK has fallen by three-quarters. In fact mention launderettes to a lot of people and their first reaction is often one of surprise that they still exist, actually there are two within a half a mile of where I live today. According to NALI, the National Association of the Launderette Industry (yes, there is an association for everything these days), numbers in the UK peaked at 12,500 in the early 80s but have since have dwindled to just 3,000. In the mid-1980s, a Levi's jeans television advert generated hopes of an altogether different kind of liaison in a laundrette. In the ad, a handsome young man enters a 1950s-style American launderette and in front of the other customers, calmly strips down to his boxer shorts and puts his jeans in the machine. The ad helped sales of jeans to rocket and made a star of its leading man, Nick Kamen. The opening bars of Marvin Gaye's hit I Heard It Through the Grapevine are among the most evocative in television advertising history. For a whole generation, it brings one image to mind but did you know that Nick Kamen only got the part on condition that he lost weight!
But back to our washing. Once all the processes had been completed and all the clothes neatly folded without anyone seeing what they were, they were all carefully placed back in the bags they came in and then it was back to the car and home. Once indoors all that was left to do was to sort the washing out into piles and Mum to do the ironing.
Such strange pleasures we had in the 1950’s!!!
Stay in touch
I had a friend who lived at No. 4 Lonsdale Avenue in the 1950’s, Richard Coppin. I wonder if anyone knows what happened to him? I am also keen to trace Michael Harrison from the same period, he lived in Hilltop Crescent on the top of Portsdown Hill.
News and Views:
Reg Presley Update. Reg is recovering well and at present a tour with the Animals during this year is a possibility and he has been told that he does not need to see the doctor again.
Pat Boone, who normally lives in Beverly Hills, has bought a second home on a floating condominium ocean liner named the Utopia. The ship, due to sail in 2013, will take its tenants around the world to events like the Grand Prix in Monaco and the Cannes Film Festival in France. Pat is estimated to have spent $4 million on his onboard "home."
More ‘home’ news:-
Ringo Starr and his wife, actress Barbara Bach, have put their three-bedroom Aspen, Colorado cabin on 16 acres of wooded land on the market for sale. The price? A mere $4.5 million. They have owned the property on the Roaring Fork River for 20 years.
On this day 23rd January 1960-1965
On 23/01/1960the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was North by Northwest. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was bomb attempt on Harold McMillan in Africa.
On 23/01/1961the number one single was Poetry in Motion - Johnny Tillotson and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was The Russ Conway Show (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £ 13.25. The big news story of the day was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada).
On 23/01/1962the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions
On 23/01/1963the number one single was The Next Time/Bachelor Boy - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 23/01/1964the number one single was Glad All Over - Dave Clark Five and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 23/01/1965the number one single was Yeh Yeh - Georgie Fame and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.