On Tuesday, Mr La Roche, a member of the Howick Historical Village, came to talk to the whole Senior School about water in the 1800s. First Mr La Roche talked to us about the wells in the olden days. The people in the olden days only had about twenty litres of water per person for drinking and washing. Each family had a bucket each so they had to treasure it. The wells were about nine metres deep so you had to tie your bucket to a rope and drop the bucket down, then you had to pull it back up.
Then he talked about soap. I learnt that in the olden days they didn’t have soap because it was too expensive, so they had to make their own out of water and charcoal. First they dipped their hands in water, then in the wood ash and then finally in some water again. When they finished this process their hands would be smooth and clean!
They only bathed once every six weeks on Saturday ready for Sunday church. Of course they had to take the water out of the wells. The water was freezing so they had to take a quick bath in front of the fire so they would at least be warm after the bath. Usually the dad would get in first because in that time they thought that the men were the hardest workers. Then the children would go in followed by the mum. The men would shave on Saturday with something called the cut throat razor.
They didn’t have washing machine back then so washing took hours and hours. Again they would wash their clothes on Saturday to look smart for Sunday church. For toilet paper they used newspaper and leaves of corn they had grown in the summer.