When Moseley Road Baths opened in 1907 houses didn’t have washing machines. Women did the washing by hand once a week. This was hard work fetching water from the tap, boiling water on the stove, scrubbing clothes on a washboard, squeezing the water out through a mangle and putting everything out to dry in the backyard.
Moseley Road Baths had a ‘Laundry Room’, where all of the towels could be washed alongside people’s clothes and bedsheets. The room is almost empty now and people aren’t allowed to go up there, but when it opened it was a very busy place. The blue racks that you see are ‘steam heated drying racks’. The steam from the hot water rose from the boilers downstairs to keep the racks hot. When the clothes and sheets were put on the racks they would dry.
Above the Laundry Room is the Cold Water Tank. This used to hold enough water to fill two swimming pools and the washing baths! The water was pumped up from a well underneath the building. When the building started using ‘mains’ water the tank was no longer needed. Some of the staff used to scare children by telling them that a shark lived in the tank! The pictures show the steps leading up to the tank and the view inside the tank which is now empty.