Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

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William
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Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by William » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:54 am

I’m trying to write something about school life 60-70 years ago and cannot recollect how often we received clean clothes. I think that we may have had clean bands, shirts and underpants twice weekly (on Wed and either Sat or Sun?) with handkerchiefs, sheets and vests weekly. Is that so?

The laundry seemed to be very efficient and I can’t remember any problems.

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by Goatherd » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:27 pm

I can't help for the 40's and 50's, but in the 60's I'm pretty sure that it was pants and socks twice a week and shirts only once (I never wore a vest). Sheets were top to bottom once a week, I think. So one clean sheet and pillow case each time. I can't remember about the bands, though.
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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by William » Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:16 pm

Thanks very much. You're younger than me, so with a better memory. I'd forgotten about pillow cases.

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by Foureyes » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:24 pm

What's this about 'pillows'? My recollection is that they were called 'bolios' although I had no idea why at the time - nor do I now!
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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by keibat » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:35 pm

I was at Horsham from 1954 to 1963, and clearly remember that these reports are correct: bands, underpants and socks twice weekly, shirts only once – unless you got acid over it in the Science School, as happened from time to time. The bands (and presumably underpants!) were often pretty yucky by the time the new ones arrived. – I don't recall how often bedding was changed – but yes, the pillows were indeed called 'bolios' (from 'bolsters', a now presumably archaic term for 'pillow').

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by seajayuu » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:05 pm

It is astonishing how similar this all is to the regime at Hertford in the late 50's and 60's. Sheets top to bottom and a clean one on top every week; clean underclothes and lisle stockings twice a week; clean blouse and pinny once a week. Maybe that was just the national norm at that time.

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by sejintenej » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:19 pm

keibat wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:35 pm
shirts only once – unless you got acid over it in the Science School, as happened from time to time.
Keith; were you in my chemistry class with Mr Potts 1960/1? If so it was 30N boiling caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide?) being used to make aniline dye when the flask exploded. Mr Potts was not pleased to return to the classroom to find three victims being liberally doused with water.
Generaly I got the impression that by the time boys got their paws on acids they had imbibed some responsibility. Of course, after our time ........
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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by Katharine » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:22 pm

seajayuu wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:05 pm
It is astonishing how similar this all is to the regime at Hertford in the late 50's and 60's. Sheets top to bottom and a clean one on top every week; clean underclothes and lisle stockings twice a week; clean blouse and pinny once a week. Maybe that was just the national norm at that time.
Quite agree Chrissy.

I'm sure we were told that Sir Harry Vanderpant had left money for the boys to have an extra set of underpants as they only had clean ones once a week. Perhaps someone was winding me up and I was gullible!
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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by keibat » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:31 pm

sejintenej wrote:
" 'keibat wrote: ↑Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:35 pm
shirts only once – unless you got acid over it in the Science School, as happened from time to time.'

" Keith; were you in my chemistry class with Mr Potts 1960/1? If so it was 30N boiling caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide?) being used to make aniline dye when the flask exploded. Mr Potts was not pleased to return to the classroom to find three victims being liberally doused with water.
Generaly I got the impression that by the time boys got their paws on acids they had imbibed some responsibility. Of course, after our time ........ "

Actually I don't *think* I ever lost a shirt myself that way ... but to be honest, I'm not certain. I certainly have a mental image of a shirt beginning to crumble, and of other boys' shirts suffering a disintegrative end. – I don't think I was ever in Mr Potts' class for chemistry (though the timing would be about right). My memory for my teachers' names is fine for the ones who played an important role in my life, including my subsequent life, but hazy around the edges.

As for whether clean underwear only twice, or indeed once, was normal in British society at that time – yes, I'm pretty sure it was, in the 50s, but began to shift decisively during the 60s.

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:19 am

My recollection is that we had clean underpants only once a week (but I may be wrong). (YUK, especially as opportunities for intimate washing were limited.) Bands and socks twice. As far as I remember, bedlinen was not rotated but changed all at once: 'For tonight we'll merry, merry be, It's clean sheets in the morning!' Fortnightly, I think.

While I'm not opposed to Spartan conditions for teenagers, I wouldn't want to return to the hygiene of those days.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by sejintenej » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:32 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:19 am

While I'm not opposed to Spartan conditions for teenagers, I wouldn't want to return to the hygiene of those days.
Whilst I can understand that feeling surely those conditions made your body resistant to all sorts of nasties? Certainly I have been able to live (comfortably and unaffected) whilst those around me were stricken with infections and worse.
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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:27 pm

sejintenej wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:32 pm
michael scuffil wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:19 am

While I'm not opposed to Spartan conditions for teenagers, I wouldn't want to return to the hygiene of those days.
Whilst I can understand that feeling surely those conditions made your body resistant to all sorts of nasties? Certainly I have been able to live (comfortably and unaffected) whilst those around me were stricken with infections and worse.
Among my mother's numerous expressions was 'clean dirt'. By this she meant mud and the like. Like her, I never stopped my children playing in the dirt or eating food which had fallen on the floor. And we have strong immune systems, maybe as a result. Nor do I share what seems to be a modern obsession with showering every day. But underwear which has gathered bodily exudations for a week (especially from adolescent boys who have little opportunity and hence little encouragement to wash their private areas) is in another league altogether.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by Richard » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:36 am

The correctness of Dr Scuffil’s mother’s “Clean Dirt Theory” and his own practice of allowing his children to play in non-hygienically clean environments are confirmed by medical publications with titles such as:

The environment shapes the immune system. How dirt protects against allergies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21644353)

and

Eat dirt--the hygiene hypothesis and allergic diseases (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12239263)

The latter appeared in the prestigious medical journal, New England Journal of Medicine, thought by many to be the world’s best general medical journal.

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:30 am

I introduced my mother's 'clean dirt theory' partly in opposition to sejintenej's 'clean dirty underwear theory'. I don't know whether any medical research has been done on the latter. However, there is a book by Ruth Goodman called 'How to be a Tudor'. In it, she describes how, while the Tudors didn't often wash their bodies (they thought washing was bad for you), they did not wear outer clothing next to the skin, and changed their underwear frequently (in the case of the better-off, daily). Hilary Mantel mentioned this in her recent series of Reith Lectures. Ruth Goodman conducted an experiment. She went a month without washing herself, but wore linen underwear which she changed daily. She reported that no one seemed to notice. A friend was roped in to do the opposite -- i.e. wash and shower frequently, but not change her clothes. The unfortunate friend had to give up quickly because she stank.

The problem with CH in the 1950s was that you had neither frequent clean underwear nor the opportunity to wash, and, of course, outer clothing was worn next to the skin. Not least, the smell of adolescent male sweat is powerful.

Modern society is averse to powerful odours, of course, even more than it was in the 1950s. We live in a deodorant society. I have a theory about the latter, too. Odours, unlike sights and sounds, cannot be digitized. As we get much of our information about the world from digitized media, we may be less able to cope with the undigitizable. While 'sexting' is said to be rife among today's young, it is widely reported that they shy away from actual nakedness in the company of others in a way that previous generations would have found strange.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Clean clothes at Horsham in the 40s & 50s

Post by postwarblue » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:00 pm

The numbers using each lav-end meat the bath ration was one per week. With people filling their bowl of water from the bath hot tap and then leaving it running to see if the bather squeaked.
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