“Just imagine,” said a mummy-type colleague today, “what life would have been like with children – and no washing machine.”
”What about mothers before washing machines were invented?” asked another. “What about the Victorians?”
“They had servants,” I said confidently. (When I say things like this, my mum generally gives me an arch look and asks: “Where did you come from?”)
“But what about the poor ones?”
“They would have smelled,” I said. “They didn’t have baths as often as us, they didn’t wash their clothes as often – and they didn’t have deodorant.”
Smelling bad must have been a hazard of Victorian life. You look at the heavy fabrics they wore and imagine how hot they became. Imagine riding a horse or playing tennis in a crinoline – and a corset. No wonder they were always fainting: probably when someone lifted their arm above shoulder level.
Although they had rudimentary washing machines, washday was only a weekly occurrence. Ditto bath time. No wonder women didn’t start wearing knickers until relatively recently.
Life without a washing machine or life without deodorant: which do you reckon would be worst?