In The Classic Slum, describing
life in Salford in the early years of this century, Robert
Roberts remarks that 'women wore their lives away washing
clothes in heavy iron-hooped tubs, scrubbing wood and stone,
polishing furniture and fire-irons'. Once a week, wash-day
was a full day's work in itself and some women made a modest
living by taking in the washing of others.
Furnishing the home
Standardised, mass-market, ready-made furniture was
increasingly common by 1901. It was affordable, especially
on credit. Robert Roberts recalled that 'From some shops you
could buy the "basic House of Furniture" complete,
designed to fill the "one [room] up and one down"
home. This cost twelve guineas, with £1 8s 0d added
if you were feckless enough to buy on credit.'