Joan Humphreys, aged 78 of Kendal, recalls spring cleaning in years gone by.


Thepractice of spring cleaning seems to have almost died out.

In days gone by when coal fires were common and manufacturing spewed out dirt into the atmosphere, an annual deep cleaning was essential to keep fabrics and paintwork in good condition.

In a place like Kendal, grime would linger on railings and outside surfaces of buildings, although comparatively little compared with larger towns and cities.

When the warm sun first made its appearance about Easter time, this was the signal for the housewife to roll up her sleeves and make a start.

Room by room, usually starting with the bedrooms, furniture would be removed, curtains taken down and carpets (which were not at that time usually fitted ones) would be taken outside and given a good beating with a beater, usually made out of cane.

Ornaments were washed and dried, ready to be put back when the work was done. The ceiling and walls would be dusted down, the paintwork washed and the floor scrubbed.

The curtains and any movable covers would have been laundered and be drying on the washing line while this was going on.

Windows were cleaned and pictures given a thorough sprucing up.

The furniture was then moved back into the room and polished, the ornaments returned to their places and order restored.

Then the onslaught would begin again in another room until the whole of the house shone and only then could the housewife sit back with the satisfaction of a job well done.