A “Virtual” Tour of The Back to Backs – part 39




A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 39

We’ve heard that George’s house had electric lights by the 1930s, however when the landlord decided to have the supply installed he was not going to install any sockets (power points), the lighting would be enough.

George, we may assume, may often choose to go out in the evening, to the pub maybe, or even the “flea-pit”. He would want to look reasonably smart and would make sure that the creases in his trousers were freshly pressed, and that his shirt & collars were ironed.

Before the arrival of the electricity supply he would have used a pair of “flat iroins”. One would have been warming over the fire whilst the other was used to press his clothes. But George soon decided that an electric iron would be a good idea and this is what he would now use.

BUT, of course there wouldn’t have been a socket to plug it into, so he fitted a bayonet plug to the flex on the iron. When ironing he’d remove the light bulb, plug in his iron and get on with his ironing. However, this is OK during the day, but after dusk he would not be able to see what he is doing.

The answer would be to use a light socket adapter. He’d remove the light bulb, plug in the adapter, then plug the bulb and iron into the adapter. Lo and behold he could do his ironing during the long dark winter evenings.

You may wonder why the iron is so small compared with those that we use today. Well, with there being no power points the light socket would be used and if you plugged a modern iron into a light socket it would blow the fuse. Therefore, the small 1920s irons were small enough to be OK to use.

Just imagine for a moment that you are walking along a road, and you see the light shade swinging back and forth in the front room of one of the houses. You can be quite sure that someone is in there doing the ironing!

We have one more story to share about Court 15 that took place in the 1960s before we move on to the next “house”.

A “Flat Iron” made from Cast Iron
Electric Light in George Mitchell’s attic
A 1920s Electric Iron
A Bayonet light socket plug
A Light Socket Adapter