A blessing to the poor.
A blessing to the poor.
A cracking new statue of Kitty Wilkinson - see here.
a few of todays scruffs in pyjamas could do with a good scrub down the washhouse.
The last one only closed in about 1990 hard to believe but true! My Gran whose now 94 went to it all her life and was gutted when it shut as she had to start goin the launderette!
Lovely statue but doesn,t she deserve better?
A huge statue should have been erected near to the first wash house so that her energy and love for our city,s poor could have been merited better. She has more right to a statue than some pompous king, queen, lord, or duke.
Watch out when you go out, you might fall over her statue.
She lived in Denison street where the now demolished King Eddy pub stood. I'd like to think whoever builds that tower there might incorporate something in it for her. She does have a stained glass window in the Anglican cathedral too though. You can find out more about her and from her biographer, Mike Kelly on www.scottiepress.org
Do you think they,d name the tower after her? They might put a notice over the toilet sink maybe. They,ll do bugger all for her.
Who is Catherine seaward, she is a herione to us all
the girl we know as Kitty, who came when we did call
this Irish lass from Derry, came here when she was nine
she understood and undertook, to help us all the time
Kitty lost her father, on that boat to Liverpool
her little sister drowned as well, how life can be so cruel
her mother found a place, a home that they could make
they struggled as they looked around, for jobs that they could take
Domestics with Mrs Lightbody, a lady kind with face
Kitty`s mum taught servants, to spin and make the lace
nice old Mrs Lightbody, the poor she helped and praised
kitty saw her kindness, and this with Kitty stayed
Only two years later, and Kitty works the cotton mill
her mothers poorly evermore , they left when she came ill
so kitty works the cotton, for nigh on next 10 years
here she first meets Tom Wilkinson, a man who really cares
Kitty`s back in Liverpool, her mothers back here too
their living now in Frederick Street, domestic jobs they do
mental health effects her mam, she`s falling to the strain
Kitty wont hear of the asylum, they battle through the pain
Kitty meets her husband, Emanuel Demontee
the Frenchman is a sailor and is drowned while out at sea
She brings her two young boys up, works harder than a man
along the way she always helps, the needy when she can
Kitty meets Tom Wilkinson, the man she knew before
they marry and he just like her, is glad to help the poor
Denison street they rent a house, the door is open wide
anyone in need of help, is welcome here inside
A washroom in her cellar, tries to keep cholera at bay
clean your bedding clean your clothes, 1p is all you pay
In no time Kitty`s kitchen, is a washroom for the need
her bedroom is a nursery school, to teach the kids to read
Securing help from charity, from well off people too
Kit and Tom kept helping, as their washroom grew and grew
soon many wash houses, with public baths beside
where springing up on many streets, big and clean inside
The authorities sat up and looked, at what Kitty had laid
wash house superintendents, the cities offer made
the Wilkinsons accepted, a wash house in Frederick street
they ran it ever helpful, and got praised by all they`d meet
Now when our Queen Victoria, came up to see our city
she wanted to meet dignitaries, she wanted to meet Kitty
Although she sat and met the Queen, and this bit brings me laughs
I bet you not long after, she was back running her baths
In 1860 aged seventy three, Kitty sadly died
From north to south,east to west, the city as one cried
her funeral at St James, was attended by every class
all had come to say goodbye, to the kindly Irish lass
At our Anglican cathedral, stands a window for our Kitty
the glass is cut so beautiful, the colours shine so pretty
A really fine memorial, for all she chose to do
a fitting way for Liverpool, to say our thanks to you
God Bless You Kitty
Brilliant poem The wash houses were hard work but they were also the equivelent to a social club for women.
Tony, i've passed your poem over to Ron and Mike for them to see, fantastic that.
I remember my mam putting all the washing in the pram and us lot walking behind her to Kent Gardens. Kitty's wash house was right by there. There was a store room for prams and all the kids played in there. Lovely hot pipes in the winter.
On the way home we would call into Kavanagh's sweet shop. They had a penny box and you could even chose 4 black jacks for a penny.
The smell of the washing and the steam in the wash house will always stay with me.
Kitty was a Saint in my book.
Some old Liverpool wash-house pics can be found here.
Brilliant Ged. Do you mind if I share that link with some of our lot who now live in the States and Canada?
I'm sure they'd be made up Steven. It's on the www so why not
hi all-especially steven
just wodered steven if you remembered the pubs on park lane if you remember the wash house on frederick street???? Trying to find out more about the block of park lane between dickenson street and ?Forre? street-just before canning street. Looking for info on 97 park lane which was near to lfed healing's pawn brokers. Desperately searching for a pic of the old curiosity vaults from the 40's or even the 1960's as it was still there in 1968. I have been found amazing pics of what iit is like now -no pub but never mind-from the people on this site-but would be overjoyed if anyone could find me a pic of what the pub was like. Do you know anyone who may know or remember-or even have a pic of that block of park lane-97 to 109. ???????
It may be of some interest to people here that a new flagship NHS primary care trust building in Liverpool has been named after Kitty Wilkinson. There was a competition to name the building open to all local NHS staff to name the building, and Kitty Wilkinson was suggested by numerous entrants.
I believe the building is called Wilkinson Place and it is in Wavertree technology park.
CATHERINE (Kitty) Wilkinson is the mother of Britain’s wash-houses. Her biography by Michael Kelly recently came out in a second edition.
Feb 9 2008
by David Charters, Liverpool Daily Post
She was born Kitty Seaward in Londonderry in 1786, coming to Liverpool with her family three years later.
After some years working in a Lancashire cotton mill, she returned to Liverpool. In 1812, she married a French seaman, Emanuel Demontee, and was expecting their second child when he drowned at sea.
Soon after that she married Tom Wilkinson, a sweetheart from their days in the mill at Caton, who fell in love with Kitty, after hearing her sing the songs of Liverpool.
The couple rose to prominence during the cholera epidemics, which swept through the port between 1832 and 1840.
Making the crucial link between poor sanitation and the spread of disease, Kitty and Tom had a boiler fitted in the scullery of their home in Denison Street.
By then Kitty was visiting the homes of the poor, winning admiration for her kindness and concern. People called her “the Saint of the Slums”.
A lady of means bequeathed her a mangle, which made life a little easier. Soon mothers from the neighbourhood were visiting to wash their clothes and linen. To accommodate more people, Kitty turned the cellar into a wash-house. With public support, Kitty then opened Britain’s first public wash-house in Upper Frederick Street.
She died in 1860, aged 73. Rich and poor attended her burial at St James Cemetery, Liverpool.
The most familiar portrait of Kitty shows her dour-faced and wearing a blouse with baggy sleeves reaching down to hands chapped and bruised by toil.
A stained-glass image of her at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral is based on that portrait.
However, a new sculpture of her by Terry McGunigle shows her as an earthly angel whose simple ideas about hygiene spared thousands of Liverpudlians.
It was commissioned by the Vauxhall History and Heritage Group and will accompany exhibitions of Liverpool’s Wash-house memories, including the one to be held at the Lee Jones Centre.
Source: Liverpool Daily Post
Memories of a world first – the wash-house
Apr 1 2008
by Laura Sharpe, Liverpool Daily Post
MEMORIES of Liverpool’s wash-houses were rekindled yesterday amid tales of cholera, gossip and pawnbrokers.
Women who visited some of the city’s wash-houses were among historians and authors sharing stories at a memories session at the Lee Jones Centre, on Limekiln Lane.
The first wash-house for poor people in Liverpool, and Britain, was started by Kitty Wilkinson on Upper Frederick Street.
Irish-born Kitty, who came to Liverpool as a child, pioneered the communal wash-houses during the 1832 Cholera epidemic.
Known as the “Saint of the Slums”, she and her husband Tom had a boiler fitted in the scullery of their home in Denison Street to create the first wash-house.
Maria Francis, 83, from Bootle, remembers swinging on a lamp- post outside a wash-house in Dingle as a child.
Mrs Francis said: “My sister and I used to hang around outside swinging on the lamp-post waiting for someone to give us a penny to watch their washing.
“We used to sit on the piles of washing so they didn’t lose their place in the queue.
“There were 13 children in our house and our mum used to go the wash-house for a bit of time on her own and have a good gossip with the other women.”
The wash-house idea took off around the country in the 1840s, with Liverpool being used as an exemplar of how they should be run.
Author Mike Kelly, who wrote The Life and Times of Kitty Wilkinson, said: “People lived in small, cramped houses with little or no running water.
“In 1828, they built courts houses where eight houses shared two toilets, with no running water and one pipe that lasted for 15 minutes. No wonder cholera was rife. History cites a doctor as discovering cholera was waterborne, but it was Kitty who found that many years earlier.”
Kitty died in 1860, aged 73. Rich and poor attended her burial at St James Cemetery, Liverpool.
Source: Liverpool Daily Post
Glad you got his permission Philip
Here's the latest Scottie press showing the statue in News from Nowhere - it's doing a tour of Liverpool at the mo.
You can read the papers on line, the page numbers are at the bottom for each issue too.
(sorry direct link to the page in the last issue not working but you can get to it via the home page above)