We generated a lot of dirty washing. The majority of us sent it home each week in purpose-made bags, probably bought from Messrs. Bonds of Norwich as part of the standard outfit of kit. Each bag measured approximately 450 mm x 300 mm and was made of coloured canvas material. There was a leather tab for stamps and a reversible address card in a celluloid window. The bag was sealed with a zip, but I can't remember how it was fastened to stop the disgusting contents spilling out.
I think it was Friday or Saturday morning when we stuffed our laundry into the bags and took them down to Matron for posting. Presumably they were weighed .... but did the school pay for the postage? It was important to remember to reverse the label - I failed to do so on at least one occasion and got the wretched thing back the next Monday!
According to my diary, the bags came back on Wednesday and, as well as the clean clothes, mine usually contained a letter, some much-needed tuck, pocket money (no idea how much - perhaps half a crown - 12.5 pence) and the New Musical Express (NME).
Those whose parents were abroad had their laundry done somewhere in Wymondham or Attleborough, perhaps the same establishment where our sheets and pillowcases were laundered. Each week (Saturday) the dorm's bottom sheets were bundled up for collection and top sheets were moved to the bottom.
Does anyone remember more about these rituals? How long did the bags continue in use? Surely no-one's still got one .......
Herb Atkins (1958-64)
Postage costs for the bag were about 2 shillings per week and we had to pay it from our pocket money. With total pocket money of 4 shillings - and sixpence of that required for junior pictures - that left about 1s 6d per week for toiletries etc. & tuck. If your parents sent you back half a crown in your laundry you would have been well off! My parents sent back letters, newspapers (including the Norwich City football paper 'The Pink Un' ) and sweets.
You will recall washing 'drip dry shirts' and scrubbing rugby kit to minimise the postage costs for sending washing home. Sad that the cost saving was my only motive for doing this - not to save my poor mother the work!
Peter Willimott (1958-65)
I'd forgotten all about those wonderful pieces of kit. I seem to remember that they were coated with some sort of impervious plastic material on the inside - whether to keep the rain out or the pong in I'm not sure ....
Peter is right - we used to have to pay postage out of our pocket money and the return of the bag with items of tuck etc. was the highlight of the week. I believe that those who didn't send their laundry home entrusted their garments to the dreaded Beccles Laundry (does it still exist?) which indeed dealt with the bed-linen which, as juniors we used to have to tie up using one of the sheets as a bag and then lug the whole ensemble down two flights of stairs for collection.
In answer to your question, they were zipped up and sealed with a tiny padlock - not the finest security in the world but, frankly, if some strange person wanted to pinch my dirty washing they were welcome to it. Personally, I couldn't get near most of it by the time it came to sending it home, so God alone knows what it was like by the time it got there.
Alan Dean (1960-66)
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