In 1940-50s South-London there were few washing machines. The mother of Anthony Sargeant did not have one but she did have a cast-iron mangle such as this which was housed in the shed at the bottom of the garden. The shed was in fact a re-purposed corrugated iron from a WW2 Anderson bomb shelter. All laundry was done in a large heated copper boiler in the kitchen using a thick wooden pole to stir it around (the thick pole rather like a metre long broom handle also had another use – it was sometimes used to whack Tony when his Mother deemed him to have misbehaved). Heavily soiled pieces of laundry were additionally rubbed on a washing board at the large ceramic sink in the kitchen. After rinsing out the soapy water in the sink the wet laundry was carried up the garden and put through the the wooden rollers of the mangle to squeeze out as much water as possible. The washing was then pegged out along the clothes line which ran the length of the garden. This was not advisable if the wind was coming from the direction of the local gasworks which was less than half a mile away, because at certain stages of the manufacture of Town Gas the coking ovens door would be opened and the wind would carry sooty smuts across the neighbourhood.
Wonderful culmulus clouds form white banks above the fields behind the home of Anthony Sargeant on a glorious english Summer’s day in 2011.
Anthony Sargeant prepared and cooked this Poussin (small young chicken) then divided it into two portions. It is worth the effort of removing the backbone and rib cage leaving just the leg and wing bones in the portion served up.
Anthony J Sargeant took this photograph from the bedroom window of his Shropshire home on 28th September 2017 at 6.38 am. Wonderful English changing seasons – variety and beauty though short winter days will soon arrive – the compensation will be the translucency of the landscape as the deciduous trees drop their leaves.
Wild Sea Bream was filleted and pan-fried by Anthony Sargeant. Served on a bed of Sweetheart Cabbage with crushed potatoes. The skin was crisp and the flesh flaked well. Delicious and inexpensive meal.
Anthony J Sargeant took this photograph in July 2016 on a nostalgic trip to the place of his birth and childhood with his re-discovered friend from that time. We lived on part of a 1930s development of semi-detached housing by the Builders ‘Wates’ in Allerford Road and Watermead Road but we knew the prefabs well. They were put up immediately after WW2 to replace the loss of houses from the German bombing of British Cities and were meant as a temporary solution to the shortage of housing in the immediate post-war years. They were prefabricated in panels and erected on site very quickly. They were designed and intended to last for 10 years but lived on and were liked by those who lived in them well into the 1960s and beyond.
A delicious supper for Anthony Sargeant – simple to prepare but fresh and with plenty of zing.