When is it time to stop?

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When is it time to stop?

Postby Martin B » 05 Jun 2008, 09:05

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Visiting day at the PJF retirement home.
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Postby Tony James » 05 Jun 2008, 10:05

That is delightful and so reminiscent of childhood when I used a clothes maiden draped with whatever fabric came to hand in order to do a puppet show.
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Postby Chris » 05 Jun 2008, 14:57

Of course we know exactly what you mean Tony - I guess most of us did the same. But I think you meant a draped clothes horse. Isn't a clothes maiden a drying rack which you haul up to the ceiling on a pulley system?

Actually my early stage was over the back of the settee. My Mum's clothes horse was a wretched little thing of lath and dowel and scarcely tall enough even with me kneeling down. Now our neighbours, the Misses Scatliffe, had a wonderful rugged one, solid and tall enough for me to stand behind and be concealed. How I coveted that clothes horse.
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Postby Tony James » 05 Jun 2008, 15:15

I'm sure you're right though the one hanging from the ceiling was referred to as a rack.

We had two horses or maidens. One was a simple two fold but the better one was a three fold and that was ideal for making a three sided frame. The hinges were strips of webbing, wrapped around the frame uprights so that they could fold up like a Z.

as washing day was Monday you could never show that day nor on a Tuesday. They were in use, first for drying and then for airing. Everything had to be aired!
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Postby Chris » 05 Jun 2008, 15:20

I just popped out for a coffee to a nearby promenade kiosk. Knowing the lady was from Cheshire I asked her about clothes maiden/horse - wondering if there was a local variation in terminology.
She had never heard of a clothes maiden but described a clothes horse quite differently to the one I knew. Her clothes horse was a lazy tongs arrangement whereas mine was like a skeleton three fold screen.

Actually I knew what she meant by the lazy tongs drying rack - I remember using one of those for hanging marionettes backstage when I first started "doing the Clubs".
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Postby lesclarke » 05 Jun 2008, 17:17

Back in time, in my part of Lancashire, (Prescot approx 10 miles from Liverpool), 'maiden' was the common name used for a clothes horse.
These days, over here in Yorkshire the term 'maiden' seems unknown.

The 'racks on pulleys had mostly been disposed of' by mid-late-fifties, and I can't remember how they were colloquially referred to. I believe their proper name was a clothes 'creel'

From a quick google just found two references using term 'maiden' to mean)a hanging system, (Manchester) and then one referring to a 'Clothes Airer/Horse/Maiden/' (Leicester)

I'm sure there are many regional and national variations.
http://www.oldandinteresting.com/clothe ... irers.aspx
'
...explains 'maiden', and adds 'Winter Hedges'
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Postby Peter » 05 Jun 2008, 19:09

What about a Flatley clothes dryer?
Named after a man called Flatley it was a lazy tong contraption that folded down into a small box. When erected it had an electrical element in the bottom. I think it made him a millionaire but if I remember correctly he finished up in prison for fraud.
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Postby Chris » 05 Jun 2008, 19:11

I've just Googled and came up with "wooden clothes maiden

Traditionally used high up in kitchens to hang clothes for drying. Moved up and down by basic pulley system.
" and this was from Hampshire.

I rather suspect the names are interchangeable. Actually we called our clothes maiden the "airing rack" and I remember older people in Yorkshire calling a clothes horse a Winter Hedge which I suppose harks back to a time when you could air your clothes outdoors, in the summer, thrown over a hedge?

I'm quite sure that the ceiling suspended airing rack didn't go out in the 50's Les. It was on sale in Argus in 2005 so there must have been quite some demand.


Oh yes Tony, I too remember how important it was that everything was properly "aired" - even nappies!

I still use a Flatley Peter - although it isn't the model you describe. It is just a metal box, about the size of the old twintub washers. In the base is a low wattage heating element. Across the top slot in wooden laths on which you hang the cloths. You put the lid on and you can leave it on all day. It uses little more than the electricity use by a light bulb. I wouldn't be without it - it heats the bathroom somewhat too.

It is also useful for slowly drying out papie mache puppet heads.

And all this from young Martin's walking frame cartoon!
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Postby David Wilde » 05 Jun 2008, 19:53

See what you have started Martin,we will be talking about the days when you could make money on a beach next! (with out selling dodgy badges!)
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Postby Nick Jackson » 05 Jun 2008, 19:57

Yep, clothes maiden here on Merseyside.
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Postby lesclarke » 05 Jun 2008, 20:59

Back closer to the original subject...

I visit friends in Wiltshire each year, and often end up having a day visiting Bath. A few years back they said they had something to show me, and on a very hot day we headed walking out of the centre. They wouldn't say what it was, but dropped hints such as "It's nearly 4pm, they may be having afternoon tea, ...hope the fat lady and the clowns are there today."

Walking along architecturally impressive roads we eventually came to....
'The Circus Nursing Home'
..It was a nursing home situated on 'The Circus'. Visually disappointing view inside the basement dining room, but nearby one eccentric 'collector' had crammed his below-pavement area with thousands of examples of discarded plastic toys, dolls garden gnomes and paraphenalia.
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Postby Chris » 05 Jun 2008, 21:39

And back even closer to the original subject - that walking frame booth isn't as novel as at first it might seem.
Just after the 1939-45 war "The Puppet Theatre Handbook" by Marjorie Batchelder was published. It had a mass of useful information and is still an interesting book to have, but a large amount of the staging section was to do with improvised stages for hospital use (puppetry in the rehabilitation of the war-wounded) and so you get wheelchair equipped shadow screens and Punch performed by a patient while in bed. All kinds of hospital equipment was put to ingenious puppet use. It made for cute pictures but one imagines that some of the ideas were about as practical as Martin's walking frame Punch show.
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Postby Tony James » 06 Jun 2008, 10:16

How weird. As I wrote about horses, racks and maidens I thought about Flatley and his dryers.

He had as I recall an old textile mill in Ancoats Manchester where they were made and he did become a millionaire. His daughters were considered pot hunters and would arrive at shows with their horses in a box decorated with advertising for the dryer.

This was absolutely unheard of in the 1950s early 60s. Even some of our Olympic show jumping team still travelled in converted furniture vans and advertising was strictly not allowed for them.

I have a feeing what sank Flatley was another product he turned to. Wasn't it about the same time as John Bloom and his monumental collapse of the Rolls washing machine empire?

I have a feeling that what got Flatley into bother was continuing to trade and trying to trade out of trouble when the business was insolvent. I do remember thinking back then that I hadn't seen the Flatley girls and their horse box for some time.
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Postby David Wilde » 06 Jun 2008, 17:56

Flatley? He may have lost a load of money there but he did well from Riverdance!
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