Old wash houses in and around Gondrin
History of the wash houses
Long ago washing was done on spots along the river on a flat stone or a simple wooden board without any shelter from the sun. The first wash houses were built at the end of the eighteenth century when there was a growing need for hygiene, caused by industrial pollution and epidemics. In France, the construction of more washing houses was facilitated by a law of February 3, 1851 by which a grant to build such a laundry facility could be obtained for up to 30% of the total building costs. Some wash houses were even built with the allure of a small temple, offering a dignified shelter for the wash wives doing their heavy and repetitive work.
These wash houses became important social places in the villages where the wash wives gathered several times per week to exchange the latest news and gossip. These primitive laundry facilities became obsolete in the twentieth century with the advent of the washing machine. Many of these old wash houses were abandonned and became ruins, but here in Gondrin a number of those have been beautifully restored in their original splendour thanks to the association Belle-Garde.
Lavoirs of Gondrin: Google Map
Association 'Belle-Garde Gondrin'
De 'Association Belle-Garde Gondrin' zet zich in voor het behoud van het historisch erfgoed van Gondrin, waaronder de oude wasplaatsen in en rond het dorp.
The association 'Belle-Garde Gondrin' is a group of passionate habitants of Gondrin, a small village right in the heart of Gascony. The goal of this association is to (re-) discover, catalog, maintain, preserve and protect all that history left us in order to bring the history of Gondrin closer to its inhabitants and other interested parties. For more information check their website: www.bellegardegondrin.fr.