Saturday, June 21, 2008

It Was A Dirty Job But Someone Had To Do It

One of the things that Victorian Londoners had to contend with was horse droppings in the streets. Horse-drawn carriages transported people and goods before the advent of motor vehicles at the turn of the century, so there was a lot of horse poop in the streets, tons and tons of it! The average horse produces at least 6 or 7 tons of manure per year--which meant horse droppings everywhere in the streets of Victorian London! According to the book, Victorian London's Middle-Class Housewife: What She Did All Day, by Yaffa Claire Draznin, London streets were constantly swept and cleaned, partly to help Victorian women clad in head-to-toe dresses and skirts, but with all the horses using the streets as their bathroom, housewives struggled to keep their homes clean and sanitary. There was just too much of the stuff outside, all over (impossible to avoid contact with), as well as vast, odoriferous, dung heaps; proper use and disposal was an enormous problem in London during this era. Clothing was largely washed by hand-operated washing machines, and took days to clean, starch, and iron, all of which demanded the housewife's strength and vigor.

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