The Solingen-based Baugenossenschaft Spar- und Bauverein Solingen (SBV) (Housing Cooperative and Savings and Building Association) did not include laundry rooms and drying lofts when the 185 houses in the Weegerhof settlement were constructed. Instead, a communal laundry facility was built, which was at the time extremely modern and socially exemplary. The washhouse made the work much easier. Until the end of the 1960s, doing the laundry was a physically arduous process for many housewives, frequently taking several days. In the washhouse, however, the machines shortened the washing process to just a few hours.
Many of those employed in the cutlery industry – mostly workers or lower grade employees – lived in Weegerhof with their families. They themselves would not have been able to afford the luxury of a machine to do the laundry without the washhouse. The frequently very soiled work clothes of the homeworkers and factory workers could be cleaned much more easily in the wash house than arduously by hand.
The washhouse Weegerhof was in use until 2005 and is probably the only facility in Germany with intact original fittings is a listed site. The fixtures with the large, old washing machines, the voluminous spin-dryer, the pull-out cupboards filled with steam spirals to dry the laundry or the mighty steam mangles are preserved more or less unchanged.
The museum exhibition complements the listed fixtures of the washhouse with numerous items relating to the history of laundry.
Address: Waschhaus Weegerhof, Hermann-Meyer-Straße 28a, 42657 Solingen
Access to the Wash house from Hermann-Meyer-Straße, between houses nos. 30/28 and 26 or Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Weg.
Opening hours: every first sunday in the month from 11–13 hours from February to November only.
Entrance fee: 2 €
To book: Groups with more than five persons should book in advance through Waschhaus Weegerhof, Frau Klinkner, Tel.: 0212 815201