A look at the Washer Women of Stornoway as found listed in the censuses of 1841-1901
In those pre-detergent days of washboards and mangles, when Monday was THE day that the household's weekly wash took place and all energy came from was elbow power, the role of women in the community who provided a washing service must have been greatly valued.
A glance at these ladies addresses, concentrated mainly in the strip alongside the Bayhead estuary, is possibly a clue as to the nature of their work. All those involved in the catching, processing and despatching of the herring would have generated voluminous quantities of sea, sweat and blood-soaked garments and some of these at least must have been entrusted to their cleaning care.
Margaret Graham, 53, 1 Bayhead Lane, Washer Woman
Son – Joiner, Boarder – Cooper
Catherine Judge, 59, 10 South Beach Street, Washer Woman
Son – Unemployed Joiner
Ann Matheson, 40, 26 Bayhead Street, Washer
5 children, ages 14 to 6
Henrietta Maciver, 48, 39 Bayhead Street, Washer
Son – Labourer
Isabella Macleod, 40, 7 Backhouse, Washer Woman
2 Boarders – Baker and a Pupil Teacher
Janet Ross, 52, 6 Bayhead, Washer
Son – Scholar(17?)
Mary Shaw, 52, 3 Bayhead, Washer
Husband - Mason
Janet Maciver, 39, 32 Keith Street, Washer Woman
1885 William Hesketh Lever buys a Soap Factory, the origin of Unilever...
Jessie Macdonald, 40, 56 Keith Street, Washer
Head – Boat Builder
Catherine Mackenzie, 57, 52 Keith Street, Washer
Head – Father, Retired Farmer
Lexy Macdonald, 40, Point Street, Washer Woman
Isabella Maclennan, 54, 22 Point Street, Washer
2 sons – General Labourer and a Plumber
Mary Morrison, 24, 2 Scotland Street, Washer
Husband – Fisherman
Mary Pink, 59, 26 Newton Street, Washer Woman
Son- General Labourer, Daughter – Fish Worker
1895 – Lever Brothers produce 'Lifebuoy Soap'
Isabella Maciver, 65, 6 Matheson Court, Cromwell Street, Washer Woman
Mary Morrison, 40, 19A Matheson Court Cromwell Street, Washer Woman & Charwoman
Fàilte! (Welcome!)This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...
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