Susan Morrison: When Britian built twin-tubs like Sherman tanks

A twin-tub was a sturdy affair in the olden days
A twin-tub was a sturdy affair in the olden days
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Modern home appliances are not the sturdy beasts they once were. Washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers, they all have the life span of a mayfly, when in days gone by a cooker was for life, not just for Christmas.

My mother had a twin-tub washer-dryer which I assume was purchased when we moved out into what I fondly thought was the country, but wasn’t.

It was the remains of a mining village on the edge of Glasgow, but, for a kid like me whose main experience of the outdoors was nearly always on grass cut by council mowers, it was as wild as the Serengeti.

We must have acquired the twin-tub then, because that beast could shake your fillings loose, so the damage it could have inflicted on a crumbling Glasgow tenement would have been cataclysmic.

It was a great unwieldy monster of a thing that had to be manoeuvred into position like a Lancaster bomber getting wheeled out for a bombing run.

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The noise was incredible. It needed hoses and big rubber tongs to pull steaming clothes from one tub to the other. Toddlers could and did sit on it.

Dad said that factories recently banging out tanks to take on Rommel just switched production to create the twin-tub.

He said it with pride, like this was ‘A Good Thing’. Probably was. The twin-tub certainly lasted longer than most of the tanks we built for El Alamein.

In my kitchen, smug in the 21st century, we have a tumble dryer. Well, we did. It started to make strange noises, and then it started to slow down and then, eventually, it made even stranger noises and stopped moving altogether. It is a fairly new machine.

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It has, to be fair, survived three general elections, but that’s another thing that seems to come around more often these days.

Under these circumstances, there are two courses of action in my book. One, get a bloke in to fix it, or two, more likely, get two blokes to deliver a new one.

Yes, I know, a child of a mother steeped in make do and mend. Scandalous.