GLASGOW'S old steamies prompt many a memory for those, like Mary McCusker, who remember when they were found in all of the city neighbourhoods.

But it's a rather gruesome tale that has stayed in the actress's head since her mum took her to the local wash-house. (Look away now if you are squeamish...)

"We were on our way to the steamie on Crown Street, and my mother had her box of washing crystals under her arm," says Mary, who was born in the Gorbals.

"We met someone my mum knew and they started to natter, while I stood by at her elbow - I was just a wee girl, maybe even just a toddler."

She adds: "It had started to rain, and the box under my mum's arm was getting wetter, and suddenly, as I looked up at the grown-ups chatting, it collapsed and the crystals poured down on to my face and into my eyes."

Mary winces at the memory, adding: "I was screaming, my mother was screaming and then out of the blue, a man who was walking past ran over, lifted me up and LICKED the soap out of my eye. It was unbelievable, but his quick thinking probably saved my sight."

Mary stars in Tony Roper's The Steamie, which is coming to the SSE Hydro for six sensational performances in December.

The Evening Times has teamed up with the revamped show - which also stars Louise McCarthy, Gayle Telfer Stevens, Fiona Wood and Harry Ward - to offer five lucky readers tickets for the opening night on December 27.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to send in your memories of Glasgow's old steamies.

Perhaps you recall your mother or grandmother taking you along on wash-day, the steamie full of the smell of soap and heat? Did you watch as she undertook the back-breaking work, lifting and rinsing, hauling through the mangle, before folding and preparing to take it all home?

Maybe you lived close to Glasgow Green, where clothes poles still stand from the days where locals could hang out their washing?

We would love to hear your stories, and we will run a selection of the best in the newspaper and online over the coming weeks. Our favourite five will win the tickets for the show.

Send your memories and any old photographs you have to, or write to Ann Fotheringham, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.

Mary plays Mrs Culfeathers in the play, which includes songs written by David Anderson. It's a Scottish theatre classic, an ode to the hardworking women of 1950s Glasgow, in which young Doreen imagines a new future and Mrs Culfeathers looks back to the past.

"It's a sentimental story, but there is a hard edge to it - which makes it real," she explains. "It's how people were back then - they helped each other, they looked after each other and I remember that well.

"It paints a picture that will resonate with many people - I remember going to the steamie with my mother, bath night on a Friday, cleaning the house like some kind of compulsion on Hogmanay - it's all in there."

Mary has Tony Roper to thank, in a roundabout way, for her decision to become an actor.

"I was a windowdresser at House of Fraser on Argyle Street, and a group of actors used to rehearse on the floor above," she explains. "My friends dared me to audition for them, so I did and Tony was part of it.

"He encouraged me to apply to drama school and suddenly, I was part of this fantastic world I loved, where I fitted in - I no longer felt like a square peg in a round hole."

Mary laughs that her parents, Isa and Peter, thought it was a terrible idea.

"They couldn't understand why I would give up a secure job with a steady wage to become an actor," she says. "But I have never regretted it, not for a second."

Since then, Mary has played many leading roles in contemporary and classic drama, on stage and on screen, but she has a very soft spot for Mrs Culfeathers.

"I love playing her, and her stories remind me of my childhood," she says. "I wish my mother could have lived to see this play, as I know she would have understood it.

"Mrs Culfeathers has great sadness in her life, but there is a hopefulness there too and by the end of the show, thanks to her pals, she has been able to see that."

She smiles: "Because that is what The Steamie is about, really - it's your pals that see you through."

The Steamie is at The Hydro from December 27 to 31. Tickets are on sale now from the box office at or 0844 395 4000.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets for the opening night, send your favourite memories and stories of the old Glasgow steamies to Ann Fotheringham, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB or email to arrive no later than 5pm on Friday, November 15. Terms and conditions apply.