King's Cross Voices
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Lil was born in 1908 on Argyle Street, King's Cross. King's Cross Voices Oral Historian Alan Dein spoke to Lil Royall along with her son, Derek Royall and her nephew Charles Chilton on 5th May, 2004.

Lil Royall
Lil Royall
Photo Credit: Sarah Weal

Duration: 2 minutes 20 Seconds. Size: 2.14mb

Lil Royall: Well my mum used to take in washing. And there was one person there with quite a family, I she asked her if anything left off of her children's clothes, rely on someone giving left off of her children's clothes to dress us. 'Cos having no dad, and Charlie, my eldest brother got killed and my other brother was in the army, Jim, 'cos there was nothing for her to help at home. Well she used to work herself, she used to go, she worked at the Haymarket Theatre, where my Dad used to dress Nelson Terry, she used to work all round old Brunswick Square, I don't know where she didn't used to work, to try to make up a bit of money for us, to run the place.

Charles Chilton: She used to go 'charring'

Lil Royall: Yeah she used to go 'charring', in the school, that was in the school, she used to do all the schools washing, of the towels, and all.

Alan Dein: So where would she do the washing?

Lil Royall: In our place.

Charles Chilton: In the washhouse, I've got a photograph of the washhouse.

Alan Dein: Really?

Lil Royal: What they call the washhouse. In the back of the house.

Charles Chilton: The backyard.

Alan Dein: So what did she have, what did she have to wash everything with?

Derek Royall: Call 'em a copper don't they, they call it a copper.

Charles Chilton: She had a big tub, a wooden tub.

Lil Royall: And a rubber, and then she'd have a plank board for scrubbing.

Charles Chilton: And then in the corner was a big boiler.

Derek Royall: Call it a copper don't they.

Charles Chilton: A copper, because originally, the interior was copper, put a fire underneath and that boiled the water.

Lil Royall: Then she get blue pieces, blue bag, to blue the water for the rinse, for the final rinse of the washing.

Charles Chilton: And then there was a big mangle, everybody had their own mangle, because of course there was different families living in the house, and you didn't want anybody upstairs using our mangle, let them use their own mangle, so this washhouse had three mangles in it, belonging to the three different. Because my grandmother didn't just wash our clothes, she washed for a living, or at least to help the expenses, so I remember she used to be at the washtub sometimes until four o'clock in the morning.

Lil Royall: Yeah.

Charles Chilton: She'd put a candle on the edge of the tub, and wash by candlelight.


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ай2004 King's Cross Voices Oral History Project