Replacing the Bathrooms in the 1960s

We were shaking in case they dropped them ...

Photo:Sutton Local Studies and Archives

Sutton Local Studies and Archives

"Ten householders in Waltham Road are to receive a special Christmas present from the Greater London Council.  For in the near future workmen will be installing in each house a prefabricated bathroom unit, improved kitchen facilities, gas fired space heating, plus the renewal of electrical installations...

The ladies of the houses to be modernised are thrilled with the prospect of a new bathroom.  Many of them feel that with young children growing up, a bathroom is essential for the future.  And it appears that they are prepared to 'rough it' for short time while work is carried out.

Mother of four, Mrs. Shirley Blacker, said: 'It has not been too difficult yet without a bath but it will be needed when the children get older.'

A spokesman for the GLC said ... the first bathroom would be installed before Christmas and would be a house at the end of a terraced block.  This means that the first will not be installed by a crane which will raise the unit over the roof tops.  But the spokesman thinks the work which involves the use of the large crane will begin in January.  'We will probably do a few at a time' he said. ....'We will see how we go with these ten, and if it is successful, it will be extended to other estates.'*"

* Extract from local newspaper - cutting held at Sutton Local Studies and Archives.

Replacing the new bathrooms - Less disruption this time round

Last year I've had a new bathroom put over being as I was in the steering group to go to Newbury to watch them being made etc. I was one of the first to get the new bathrooms so I've now got a new bathroom which is really, really lovely and I was so pleased with it. It's a lot bigger than the old one. They put three of them over - three of these box bathrooms in one day. The extra bits - I suppose they were here roughly about two weeks all in all. But the first time they were here they had to dig holes, trenches in the back garden which were six foot deep to allow for the water, the sewers and everything, and at that time my children, one of them was five and the other one was about two and a half, and they were walking over these big six foot holes on planks and it was just one big upheaval. We had no kitchen. We had a little Baby Belling two-ring cooker on there to cook in here and we were sort of like six weeks without proper facilities. (Jean Betts)

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 23/08/2010.
Comments about this page

I remember the first bathroom being built on the back of my house in Peterborough Road in about 1968 when I had lived there for a year with the bath in the kitchen which was quite nice at the time as my children were small and I could bath them while I cooked the dinner. By the time the new one was being built my daughter was toddling about and I had nightmares about her falling down the deep holes dug for the drains! If I remember rightly it took about a year for the whole thing to be finished completely and then our rent doubled but I refused to pay for the first weeks as they had not completely finished but that was a futile protest and I had to pay in the end.

By Jeannette Tidy
On 28/08/2010

I remember the bathrooms going on the back of my Mum's house in Titchfield in 1969.  I had left home in 1966 when I got married and had moved to Merton.  I was pregnant with my first child and went and stayed with mum for the day on the Estate.  The ground outside the new back door had been dug and the foundation put down.  Mum and Dad were waiting for the big crane to come to swing the new bathroom over the house.  Everyone was excited about getting a bathroom, although the old bath in the kitchen held some wonderful memories for us.  Every Friday she would boil up water in the old copper in the corner of the kitchen.  No lock on the kitchen door mind - if we heard anyone coming we would shout "don't come in". Sometimes my uncle would rattle the door and shout out "where's your thruppeny bits".  I didn't know what he meant at the time. Mum used to clip him round the ear for tormenting us.

When we were very young children, we lived in Sherbourne Crescent and Mum would plonk my brother and I in the bath and we would sing all the old war songs.  Goodbye Dolly, It's a Long Way to Tipperary - so many wonderful memories.  She would tell us some real whoppers. When we asked what she did in the war she told us she had to tuck the sailors into their hammocks every night.  We still laugh about it now.

By Brenda Clark nee Stuart
On 09/04/2014

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.