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It is very easy to forget, living in the 21st Century, just how far we have progressed as a society (technologically speaking!) in a very short space of time. So many of the things that we take for granted today around the house and at work were either unheard of or in their infancy in the 1930’s...
Very few families would have had a television in the 1930’s. Most houses would have had a radio, or ‘wireless’, so that they could listen to the latest news or music.
The whole family would listen to radio programmes together, much like how we watch television today.
Most houses would have had a wood or coal burning stove in their kitchen to cook on. This stove would also help to heat the kitchen as they did not have central heating to keep their houses warm.
To warm up the rest of the house most rooms, including bedrooms, had an open fire. However, as wood could be expensive to buy, most people kept warm in the night by sleeping with lots of clothes on!
NO CENTRAL HEATING
Most houses in the 1930’s did not have indoor toilets. The toilet would be in the back yard or garden. They would also have a chamber pot to go to the toilet in the night so they didn’t have to go out in the cold!
NO WASHING MACHINES
When clothes had to be washed, they would be scrubbed by hand on a washboard in a tin bath, rinsed and then put through a mangle, a machine that squeezed the water out so that the clothes could then be hung out to dry.
Most people had to wash themselves in their bedrooms and would keep a jug and basin in their rooms to wash their hands and face in the morning. When it was bath-time, water had to be heated on the stove in kettles and pans and then poured into a tin bath (usually the same one that was used for washing the clothes). This took a lot of time so several people would have a bath in the same water.
When clothes needed to be ironed, heavy metal ‘irons’ would be heated up in the fire or over a gas flame and then used to press the clothes.
This was a job that would take a long time and would often lead to burnt hands!
NO ELECTRIC IRONS
Instead of going to a supermarket where you can buy everything you need, families would visit several smaller shops to buy their groceries and household items. For example, the butchers for meat, the bakers for bread, the greengrocers for vegetables and the newsagents for newspapers and sweets.
In the 1930’s many houses were still lit by gas lights.
These all had to be lit individually by hand with a match and then blown out to turn them off.
FEWER ELECTRIC LIGHTS
I do like an open fire but I think I prefer central heating!