A small piece of social history

After months of prevarication, I’ve finally turned out the airing cupboard which had got to the stage of bursting the door open, there was so much linen in there. Whilst it felt good to bag up the old bedding and towels and stack the remainder tidily, there was a good bit of nostalgia involved in the process.

First, an old Brentford Nylons pillowslip, in pale yellow. My Windsor childhood brought back suddenly – slippery primrose knitted sheets on hot summer nights.

Second, lots of old damask tablecloths from various grandparents and great aunts, which I’ve been keeping for years but finally feel able to relinquish to a charity shop.

And last but not least, the subject of this post – woollen utility blankets that probably belonged to my maternal grandmother. These astonishingly sturdy off-white wool blankets with their blanket-stitched hems would originally have had a cloth label bearing the printed CC41 logo, which guaranteed both quality (vastly superior it seems) and a reasonable price, being free of purchase tax. Some 80 years later, they are a bit worn, but still soldiering on! I’d be surprised if modern acrylic examples will still be around in 2100.

The corners are embroidered with laundry marks – each customer using a commercial laundry had their own mark so they could get the right item back after washing. People (ordinary ones like my folks anyway) washed most of their laundry at home, but larger items like sheets and especially heavy ones like blankets were often sent out. So, this is a little piece of my family history.