AGAINST all the odds, which included industrial pollution, Black Country housewives loved and cared for their back-to-back, Victorian terraced houses. and Lace curtains were all the vogue.
Just as these days, they were obsessed by their homes, keeping them clean, and in fashion with trends of interior design. Every house was the same, two or three windows facing the street, and when they sat in the downstairs front room locals passed by within feet of the events of their everyday family life.
Even though it bristled with community spirit, and was no way a slum, most ladies preferred a barrier between both lives. It was easier to have nothing draped on their windows, but with the need they ended up with lace curtains.
Wednesbury was a town where there was a spirit of thrift and perseverance which found it’s expression, so far as circumstances allowed, in the outward appearance of many homes. Although there was an old saying “they’re all kippers and curtains.” This was a jibe at locals going without food in favour of outside show.
Yet, the photograph (below) of a nice house, with nice curtains and two nice well fed little girls has an interesting address. It was the “Royal Liver Friendly Society, Wednesbury.”
Those societies were mostly conducted in public houses, perhaps in this case the agent was taking contributions at his own home. Consequently, he was one of the best paid gentlemen in town, he could afford one of the best houses and his wife could buy the best lace curtains. Ironically, the must have these days is still a lust for a translucent curtain that transmits light, but is not transparent.
These light delicate curtain panels for windows are nothing like grannie’s lace curtains or the new synthetic plain nets of the 1950’s. They are sold in every colour of the rainbow, in fact, anything but white, and far from vintage.
A good indication if your curtains are a hit; is if the net curtains across the road start twitching, and whisperings begin about your taste.
I hate nets, because I am basically lazy, and you need to wash & iron them every week or so. and anyway, they block my view from being nosy!