Advert for the Milkwood Laundry
Medium: Print on paper
In the 19th century laundry workers toiled for very long hours at a physically demanding job. The hot and humid workplaces ruined their skin and often made breathing difficult. They were paid a very low wage.
Mayhew’s 1861 volume, 'London Labour and The London Poor', suggests that a laundress washing clothes for a family of 6 would earn just 8½ pence a week inclusive of the costs of soap, soda, starch and coal to heat the water.