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Friday, 29 June 2012

Soap gets in your eyes... (or how Lifebuoy saved my life)

A fascinating reminder of the past - from Guernsey Museums (below) - landed in my in-box yesterday and got me thinking about soap. Not Coronation St or Eastenders, you understand, but the sort we used to wash ourselves with long ago!. My grandfather had a greenhouse in his garden in Guernsey when I was a child, and he wasn't allowed back in the kitchen until he had 'got the dirt off' his hands.  So by the back door he kept a 'dipper' - a metal bowl with a handle - where he  used to scrub his hands (and mine) with Lifebuoy toilet soap.

In the early nineties I visited Port Sunlight Village on the Wirral - home of Lifebuoy (and, of course Sunlight) toilet soap.  In the factory shop they had several bars of Lifebuoy on display and I asked if I could buy  one. 'Sorry, no,' said the assistant, explaining that manufacturing had now stopped. When I asked if I could get hold of the soap, to bring back childhood memories, (it smelt of carbolic) to my embarrassment, my eyes filled with tears.

Later in the day I went back to the shop for one last look and the assistant beckoned me into the back room. 'I want you to have this,' she said, pressing the soap into my hand. 'I've been worried all day after seeing you so upset.' She made me promise 'not to tell a soul,' which I haven't, till now.  Needless to say, I still have that bar of Lifebuoy today, and wouldn't part with it for anything.

Do you remember Sunlight Soap, Kensitas cigarettes or Pepsodent toothpaste? Our next exhibition is a trip down memory lane, looking at the brands and packaging from yesteryear. To tie in, the Museum Shop is stocked up with vintage branded products.

Beautiful things we sell.


Elaineyross said...

Do you remember Grandpa's song about soap?

There were two old washer women at their tubs
It'd done yer good to see them
They were talking politics 'mongst themsleves
With one bit of soap between them

Says one to the other "Don't call me a liar.
It'll give the soap no scope dear
Just mark my words and be polite
Say 'After you with the soap dear'"

I can still hear him singing that now!

Guernsey Girl said...

I would never have remembered all those words - just one or two lines- amazing...

Nikki-ann said...

How nice of the assistant! :)

Guernsey Girl said...

Lovely to hear from you, Nikki-ann...