Advertisement in Woman's Way magazine, 1964

A Washing Machine in the House

Jennifer Meehan recalls the transformative effect that a washing machine had on her mother’s daily routine:

“She had washing for nine people, and she did it on a Monday. In those days everybody washed on a Monday. She did the washing in a tin bath, put on two chairs in the kitchen, with a washboard. She would rub the clothes up and down the washboard, which had glass waves across it.

All day washing

Advertisement from The Irish Housewife annual.
Washing machines were regularly advertised as ‘must-have’ modern technologies in women’s magazines in the 1960s.

She’d be exhausted by the end of it, but she accepted it because that’s the way life was in those days.

A washing machine came into the house in the late ’60s. It was marvellous. It cut her washing by half a day. She didn’t have to get water brought to the house. On a Sunday night two of the family would have to go to the pump to collect buckets of water. And then on Monday morning she’d put it into big pots to be boiled and then poured into the bath to do the washing. She didn’t have to boil up the water. The machine did all that for her”.

Contributed by Jennifer Meehan.

Jennifer & Patrick Meehan on their wedding day, 18 July 1978. Pictured with Jennifer's parents, Kevin & Kathleen Byrne.
Jennifer & Patrick Meehan on their wedding day, 18 July 1978. Pictured with Jennifer’s parents, Kevin & Kathleen Byrne.

Have a memory of the 1960s that you’d like to share? Found out more here.

Morphy Richards Hairdryer Ensemble, one of the objects of display at the exhibition.

Morphy Richards Hairdryer Ensemble

This is a picture of a Morphy Richards ensemble hairdryer, which was extremely popular in the 1960s and even into the 1970s. Usually produced in either pink or blue, there were a number of variations. The most notable feature of the design was the hood.

I tracked down the hairdryer in the picture via ebay, and it’s still working! There’s actually still plenty of them out there; one woman kindly rang into the Dave Fanning show when I was on to offer a loan of hers!

Advertisements for Morphy Richards hairdryers and the model in the picture above will be on display at the exhibition.

Sex Education

Woman's Way, July 1968
Woman’s Way, July 1968

One noticeable feature in the letters pages of women’s magazines in the 1960s was the lack of knowledge about sex and intimacy. The above letter to Woman’s Way from April 1968 about lovemaking in a car is just one such example of a lack of understanding about how pregnancy can occur. The letter to the right from a mature woman reveals how little some women understood about how their bodies worked.

Sex education was not covered in schools, and it is apparent from much of the correspondence that parents were reluctant to discuss the subject with their children. Information booklets were available, but they weren’t always accessible, particularly for those living in rural Ireland. For many, women’s magazines were a prime source of information.

Sex Advice in the Exhibition

This panel features in the 'Advice to Newly Married Wives' section of the exhibition.
This panel features in the ‘Advice to Newly Married Wives’ section of the exhibition. (Click on the panel to enlarge it).

Joe & Margaret’s 1960s Wedding

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This album provides a pictorial record of Joe and Margaret Teeling’s wedding day.

Margaret Thompson, aged 15, and Joe Teeling, aged 17, met in 1960. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on 17 February 2015. This is their story, in Joe’s words:

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“It was a June morning in 1960 when I first saw Margaret cycling her bike up the Glens on the Finglas Road on her way to work. I was waiting for a bus to take me into the Flowing Tide Public House in Abbey Street. Margaret was working in the Casino cinema in Finglas and I used to see her regularly. When I found out where she worked, I quit my job and got a job in the Casino as an usher! I then plucked up the courage and asked her for a date. We were to meet at the Saxone shoe shop on O’Connell Street in Dublin City Centre. I waited and waited, but she did not turn up. Margaret said she did(!). We made another date, and the rest is history. We were in love for ever”.

 

Margaret and Joe got engaged on 2 October 1962.

 

“We married on 17 February 1965 in the Church of the Incarnation, Finglas West. The reception was in the Maples Hotel on Iona Road, and cost £1.1 shilling per head or one guinea. We had 30 guests. We went to Cork for our honeymoon. We went on to have two girls, Louise and Lisa, who have given us four grandchildren. We are looking forward to our 50th wedding anniversary in February 2015”.

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Share your story.

 

Marriage & Employment

 

“It [the post] will also be terminated automatically by your marriage although you may apply for an appointment to the Temporary Staff from the date of your marriage”

 

This offer of employment letter has been kindly supplied by Geraldine Lawler, and it features in the ‘Wives outside the Home’ section of the exhibition. In Ireland, a marriage bar meant that all women working in the Civil Service were required to leave their position upon marriage. Though no such legislation existed in relation to the private sector, it was tradition for most women working in that sector to also leave their employment. The bar was eventually lifted in 1973.