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La Chartre washhouse
A convivial spot for housewives
The hamlet washhouse...
Built in the nineteenth century in gritstone and limestone, it was roofed over in 1889. The washhouse is fed by a spring. Closed on both sides, its sloping roof is covered with interlocking tiles, resting on a wooden pillar. The two basins are lined with tiles on two sides. Housewives used to come here from the small hamlet of la Chartre, which was part of Juziers until it was joined to Brueil-en-Vexin in 1880.
…where the women would go in groups
Every week, the women would wash their household laundry with soap and rainwater. The operation was limited to small items of linen, like underwear. The rest, sheets, towels and work shirts, was washed twice a year. After it had been well soaped, the linen was loaded onto a donkey and the procession set off. The washerwomen used hooks to carry the baskets on their backs. They took bundles of straw, soap and brushes, while others carried the washing tub, the laundry bats and clogs. As for the lady of the house, she carried a large basket of provisions for lunch. And it was off to the washhouse!