Chaplain to the Queen Cllr Rev Ann Easter felt an old-fashioned pride while Cleaning for the Queen


- Credit: Archant

Saturdays were very nice in my childhood home in Alexandra Road, East Ham, and I always looked forward to them.

With both parents working, there was housework to be done before anything else so my sister and I would tidy and dust while my dad organised the laundry in our Rolls Twin Tub washing machine.

My mum’s job, meanwhile, was to ‘do the front’.

This job took at least two hours and included polishing the brass knocker and letter box with Brasso, treating the doorstep with Cardinal red polish, washing the window sills and, crucially, sweeping our little front garden and the pavement and gutter in front of the house. And when a neighbour was unwell or unable to sweep the front of their home, my mum would clean that too and our neighbours would return the favour.

You may wonder how this task could take so long but, of course, the best and perhaps most important part of the job was that many of our neighbours would be doing the same and so this was my mum’s chance to chat and catch up on the gossip.

Recently, we’ve been Cleaning for the Queen, remembering the cleaning that took place before Her Majesty’s Coronation in 1953 and marking the Queen’s 90th birthday this year and that reminded me of the time when Newham people were proud to work with the council to keep our borough clean.

I was delighted to see something of that pride remerging.

But our Saturdays weren’t all work! More from Ann

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