This film is part of Free

Public wash-house Liverpool 1959

A social club with washing tubs: take a tour of a 1950s Liverpool wash-house

Documentary 1959 4 mins


Admire the industriousness of the Liverpool women who transport huge bundles of laundry to and from the local wash-house every week, crammed into old prams or balanced skilfully on their heads. The wash-house doubles as a social hub for the women, with a cafe and creche facilities. At the time of filming, this one in the Pontack Lane area was one of 13 remaining original public wash-houses in the city, although new more modernised buildings were under construction.Liverpool's last working wash-house closed in 1995.

The peppy documentary not only looks at the modern wash-house, but introduces the story of Kitty Wilkinson, 'the Saint of the Slums', who pioneered the public wash-house movement in Liverpool during the 1832 cholera epidemic. John Abbot Productions, who made the film, specialised in sponsored non-fiction films from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.