Young Explorers: Wash House

Doing the laundry was a very time-consuming, difficult and complicated job. A complete cycle of laundry could take nearly a week! Modern inventions such as washing machines, tumble driers and electric irons save us lots of time today, but these were tools that the Victorians simply didn’t have. Explore below to discover some of the items that were used in the laundry.

Wash House © Charles Dickens Museum

The copper was a big copper bowl with a wooden lid, set within a brick fireplace. It was used for boiling water.

Wooden wash tub and dolly © Charles Dickens Museum

The dolly was a heavy wooden device used to move the laundry through the soapy water.

Still room water pump © Charles Dickens Museum


Before the invention of taps, water would have to be pumped into the house using a water pump like this.

Washing clothes was just one part of the laundry process though. Have a look at this video to find out more about how the Victorians ironed their clothes.



To find out more about a wash day for a Victorian housemaid, click here to have a go at this activity.

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