This is Mr. Truant’s account of Bloomfield, using information gathered from a variety of sources. It is reproduced from Look! This was Timsbury by kind permission of the Cheshire Home.
In the early days when Bloomfield was mentioned, it contained mostly miners’ cottages. They had no mains services, such as electricity, water or mains sewerage, most toilets being a bucket or cesspit situated at the bottom of the garden. The seating was mostly two-seater, one seat for an adult, the other for a small child. Some were for three; I could never understand why three, unless it was for a quiet family gathering. The seat was made of wood and it was usual after the weekly wash to use the hot water from the copper to scrub the wooden seat, which was then almost white.
As toilet paper was not widely available or too expensive it would be someone’s duty in the household to cut the newspaper into squares. A hole was pierced through the corner with a skewer, a piece of string passed through the hole to make a pack which could then bang on a hook in the toilet ready for use.
At the rear of the cottages would have been what was known as the wash house, which contained a copper boiler. A fire was lit underneath to boil the water for the weekly wash, also often used for the bath, which was of tin, and placed in front of the living room fire. As you know the miners would need to have a bath after each shift (no pit-head baths in those days).
In the house itself there would be an open fire, often with an oven to one side for baking, but on Sundays the joint of meat was roast in front of the open fire, the meat being rotated by means of the meat jack or spit as it was often named. This was worked by clockwork which you would wind with a key as you would for a clock; a dripping tray was placed under the meat to catch the fat or dripping. Often a piece of coal would fall into the dripping from the fire. (I suppose this all added to the flavour.)
The lighting was from oil lamps, or from the candle stick, the latter having to be used to light the way to the toilet at the bottom of the garden after dark. The candle stick was also used to light one’s way up the stairs and also to undress for bed.
Drinking water was drawn from the well, often shared by several families, by means of a bucket held by a rope.
In those days the roads were not dressed with tar as we have today, the quarry owners would unload a huge load of large stones at a convenient site alongside the road to be repaired and men would be employed using long handled hammers to break the stones into small enough stones for the steamroller to roll into the new surface.
The children who always walked to school would often run to school bowling a hoop. The girls’ hoops were mostly made of wood, the boys hoops often made of iron. One of the other games often played on the way in the road (there was not the traffic in those days) was the whip top, which was kept spinning by means of a whip made from a stick with a long piece of string attached. You would then whip the top to keep it spinning.