Friday Ephemera
The Agonies of the Left, They Never End



Doorstep scrubbing is a lost art.


The woman scrubbing that doorstep - I wonder how old she was?


Doorstep scrubbing is a lost art.

Presumably, it was done at a time when people had coal delivered through drop-holes near their front doors, which (again, presumably) left coal dust in its wake. Though it does have a slightly competitive and ritualistic quality.


I can't believe the head scarves and curlers look died out.


I can’t believe the head scarves and curlers look died out.

Earlier this year I found myself, very briefly, in Barnsley Market. I can report that the phenomenon hasn’t entirely vanished into history.


Can't speak for the UK, but over here curlers disappeared from the streets around the time of this commercial:

No one ever talks about the good Madison Avenue has done for the world.

Stan Mann

Those could all have been taken in the Scotland of 1950-1975, there were, maybe still are, East Lothian mining villages with that style of look and behaviour. Noted with appreciation: the chips eaten with the fingers, straight from the newspaper (plastic tray/fork ? - unheard of.) and the lonely corner bubble-gum dispenser - ah, memories!


and the lonely corner bubble-gum dispenser - ah, memories!

One of my earliest memories involves one of those. They promised so much more than they delivered.


Doorstep scrubbing must have been hell on the knees.


"The woman scrubbing that doorstep - I wonder how old she was?"

Well life was reet arsh back then with accelerated decrepitude......My guess is seventeen or eighteen.

If she still has all her teeth then probably younger.


"Doorstep scrubbing is a lost art."

Not in Germany. I remember, in the 1990s, seeing old women (always old women)in Heidleberg in the evening scrubbing their front steps, and stoops. I don't think it was to clean up the coal dust, either.

But then, since is was OLD women, maybe there are now fewer of them...


Gutter-sweeping is the American version. There was one old lady down the street that sometimes forgot her clothes.

Todd Fletcher

Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion

David Gillies

Oh Christ, I just got PTSD flashbacks to when I lived in Bradford.


I now want chips.

Nanty Riah

Speaking as an interested outsider... There are definitely big genetic differences within England, let alone within the British Isles (let alone within Europe). And that has big consequences for culture and economics. "We are all the same under the skin" is one of the massivest pseudo-memes ever promulgated by mendacious liberals (and their lackeys).

Stephen Fox

Always striking in these old photos, the minimal quantity of signage and street clutter. Obviously I understand we need constantly to be told to do or not to do this, that or the other, but what a mess we've made of our cities.


The thing about doorstep scrubbing... It was your 'face to the world' and it told everyone a lot about the people who lived there. In fact, the doorstep was a very important part of the house because it was the social media of the times; a man would sit on his doorstep (or park a chair in the doorway) and talk to people going past. Often the man would be in his shirt-sleeves and wear his flat-cap (my grandfather would wear his in the house, even while watching the new-fangled thing called television -- BBC was 'our channel' and ITV 'their channel') as he talked to neighbours and passers-by.

But don't underestimate the inner strength of these people. They were willing to work in jobs no one wants to do now and, in two world wars, go to fight for their doorstep and all the others.

The doorstep might not be much but it was theirs and the Hun weren't going to have any of it.

Bob Mole

Doorsteps Beecham Powders, Sanatogen Tonic Wine, Bradford vans, Rag and Bone men, Persil washing powder, Clothes boilers and wringers, my goodnmess my Guiness ads,beautiful steam trains; alost world!

The comments to this entry are closed.