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Summer & Winter curtains

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
I've been reading Nella Last's Diaries of World War 2, (known as Housewife 49 to the Mass Observation organisation which recorded the thoughts and habits of ordinary people during those times) and was intrigued to read of her doing her annual spring cleaning and changing to her Summer Curtains and Winter Curtains.


As a small child I remember my mother making similar changes and am intrigued if this habit still survives? I put up new curtains once in a blue moon, wash them in a slightly more frequent blue moon but never change them.


Is this another domestic habit which has died in the mists of time as women become more busy, work as well as running a home and don't have time for such activities? . Or was it done to show your neighbours that you were sufficiently well off to own two sets of curtains?


I do recall my mother debating with her next door neighbour at the time on which side the pattern should show. My mother was of the opinion that the pattern should be displayed to the interior of the room where the family could enjoy it. Our next door neighbour displayed hers facing outwards so that the neighbours could see her taste !
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  • edited 20 June 2019 at 6:05PM
    dreamingdreaming Forumite
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    edited 20 June 2019 at 6:05PM
    I do have summer and winter curtains (and cushion covers too) although this year I haven't been able to take the winter ones down and put the summer ones up as I can no longer climb the stepladder without feeling dizzy. Mind you, as it has been so cold over the last few weeks the heavier, lined winter curtains have kept it a little cosier. My DD will be visiting in the next few weeks so I may ask her to do it, but part of me wonders whether it is really worth it. I don't actually wash/dry clean the curtains every year when I do change them though. On alternate years the curtains just get vacuumed, then put on the washing line for a good airing before I pack them away. DD thinks I am probably the last woman alive who does this (I am only early 60's by the way). My curtains are hung with the pattern on the room side.
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    The winter ones were to keep the drafts out and the warmth of the fire in, before the days of central heating and double glazing.

    Summer ones allowed the opportunity of washing/drying the winter ones, kept the home cooler during the warmer months due to letting the drafts flow through the home.
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    Sorry, I never said - I just have one set for each room; unlined for the lounge and blackout curtains for the bedrooms.
  • caronccaronc Forumite
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    Definitely something that was a feature when I was growing up in a house with drafty single glazing, poor insulation and no central heating. Winter curtains were very heavy & lined and as we had a big bay windows very wide too. They weighed a ton and it used to take both my parents to put them up and down. In winter they were kept closed whenever it was getting dark and it always marked the seasons' changing when the curtains were changed to/from the lighter unlined summer ones. I suppose now many folk have double glazing etc, so much less need to change over.

  • ArtytartyArtytarty Forumite
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    Aw, you've reminded me of my dear neighbour, now lost to dementia at an early age.
    She was soooo house proud. She changed the bedroom curtains to match the clean duvet cover every time!
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  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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    Artytarty wrote: »
    Aw, you've reminded me of my dear neighbour, now lost to dementia at an early age.
    She was soooo house proud. She changed the bedroom curtains to match the clean duvet cover every time!

    Oh my gosh. What extra work some people create for themselves! Life is just too short ! If you're really fanatical about things toning, probably better to stick with a plain colour duvet cover and patterned curtains or vice versa.
  • wortwort Forumite
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    Absolutely. I have a cosier warm curtain and a matching set cushion colours for winter. Then in spring /summer lighter brighter curtains. I love to change them it gives the room a whole different feel,and reflects the seasons. I have more than 2 pairs though!! I clean them when I take them down. At the moment mine are white with shades of grey and a splash of yellow. They are lovely and summery! !
    I can't remember wether my mum used to do this.:j
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  • EenymeenyEenymeeny Forumite
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    I remember my mother doing this and my father complaining about her putting dark curtains up just when he felt that we should be having light, cheerful ones! I can see his point but as others have said it was about warmth and insulation. :)
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  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    You've stirred a memory in me but it's not my mother I can remember doing this. On reflection I think it must be one of my grandmothers. She's still alive aged 93 and living in the same house, but it's not something she does anymore, so I'd say it was definately to do with the weather and keeping the house warm or cool.
  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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    Yes I think the thicker lined curtains were for winter use, and perhaps even had blackout material as linings in some cases. . They may have helped keep the rooms warmer in winter before central heating arrived but when you opened them in the morning the glass was streaming with moisture and condensation, sometimes from ice which had frozen on the inside of the windows overnight, which would collect in little pools on the window ledges and "mopping up" was a daily morning chore.

    If you didn't do this regularly a horrible layer of black mould would start to appear at the base of each window frame, the paint would flake away and and the wood slowly start to rot. Thank heavens for double glazing ! It has certainly reduced the amount of house maintenance and woodwork repainting needed.
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