Clothes Washing in Rishton

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Because of the type of housing found in the majority of Rishton, the back streets, or alleys, found a great use on a sunny day!

Hooks could be found on either side of the external back yard walls, and the washing line would be strung across from side to side, zigzagging down the back street.

Sheets would be hung out and left to blow in the breeze, and as children, we would run through the washing, leaving dirty handprints as we pushed the sheets over our heads, and the ladies coming out and shouting at us!

This was a bye law of Rishton, and one of the only reservations about it was you were not allowed to hang out washing on bin collection day.

The coalmen would curse of course, for every delivery they had to the coits and coal holes there was washing in the way!

These days people have had the coits demolished and the back yard walls rebuild in concrete blocks rather than the original stone, and the hooks have been thrown with all the stone.

The reason for hanging out the washing in the back street, was because normally you would only do your washing once a week. The steamer was used if you had one to wash the clothes, and they would be run through the mangle, which was turned by hand.

Once the back yard was full of washing, the back street was used. The back yards were not very big on most terraced houses, even smaller with the coits there, and it didn't take long to fill the yard.

An average size yard was about 14 foot square.