Memories of Laundry Lane by Penelope (Penny) Jackson. The Pink Floyd Connection by D J (Nick) Nicholas. The History of Cambridge Steam Laundry by Michelle Bullivant.
Memories of Laundry Lane by Penelope (Penny) Jackson
My Early Life living in Cherry Hinton Road & Laundry Lane
Ruby Gladys Jackson (Mum) William (Bill) Ernest Jackson (Dad)
Sisters Ellen Margaret, and me Penelope
*All photographs included here are Penny's, unless otherwise stated.
I was born on 28.04.1948 at 141 Cherry Hinton Road where my family lived in a downstairs flat. I was the youngest of three girls, Ellen was the eldest, she was born in North London in 1940, Margaret followed in 1946 and I came along later in 1948. Margaret and I were both born at 141 Cherry Hinton Road. My parents decided after the 2nd World War to move away from London and make Cambridge their home.
I believe that my dad's first job in Cambridge was at the Swiss Laundry on Cherry Hinton Road, which was not far from our home. My dad was an engineer, and he eventually left his job at the Swiss Laundry and worked for the Cambridge Steam Laundry which was at the end of Laundry Lane off of Cherry Hinton Road in Cambridge.
The job came with a cottage which was located at Laundry Lane, our cottage was number 1 Laundry Lane which was the cottage nearest the Laundry, there were 5 other cottages and as far as I can recall, all were occupied by other laundry workers.
I recall that there was a family called Arnold who lived at number 3 Laundry Lane, Cecelia Arnold was the eldest and I think Len was her son, there was a young lady called Ella and I remember a young man called Ricki. At some point, there was a baby boy living in the Arnold household and I guessed he was Len's son, his name was Kevin.
There was a family whose surname was Cramer. I think the dad was Polish. I cannot remember his wife's name, but I remember he had 2 daughters. I think one of the daughters was named Barbara, the other I think was Marisha but I am not sure.
There was a family called Inskip but I cannot remember what number they lived at, but they had two children Michael and Christine. At the end of the row of cottages was a couple who did not have any children, they were Tom and Ivy Cordon, and I can remember when Queen Elizabeth was Crowned (1953) they let us children watch the ceremony on their TV because none of the other residents had one! They were also the only ones who had a car.
There was another little cottage in Laundry Lane, it was nearer to Cherry Hinton Road. There was a little girl called Freda Mauer who lived there with her parents, her dad's name was Steve.
Post-war, money was tight, but as a child, it seemed to be a happy community. At the back of the row of cottages, we all had back gardens and to the side of the houses was a plot of land which was turned into allotments for growing vegetables. There was also a well on this piece of land.
Beyond our back gardens was a big field, where in the summer the children used to play during the school holidays. In early summer the field was covered with cowslips, which today are still my favourite flower. The boundary of the field had a row of trees and beyond the trees was Coe’s Farm. Mrs Coe ran a shop, the front of which was on Cherry Hinton Road. The shop was opposite where the TA is now.
(* You can read more about the Coe's by clicking here: Lime Tree Farm and the Coe Family, Cherry Hinton)
Ellen went to Morley School and when she left there she went to Coleridge School. With all the building that was going on in this area two new schools were built, Queen Edith School and Netherhall Secondary School. Margaret went to Morley School but when Queen Edith was built, she moved there and then went on to Netherhall. I went to Queen Edith and then to Netherhall, but we both hated school.
In the Early 1960s, I am not sure of the date, but I know I was at Netherhall School at the time, we learned that the field that was playing field, at the back of the cottages had been sold and houses were to be built, and Derwent Close was born, building proceeded and we were surrounded by a building site. At the time it seemed like a huge number of houses were being built, but worse was to come, the houses that we lived in were to be demolished to be part of the new build, I think there are garages where our houses used to be. The workers from the Laundry were given new homes on Derwent Close, wonderful we thought, brand new houses with a bathroom! I can remember our old cottage being demolished, Margaret and I watched out of our new bedroom window, and we could see all the pictures of pop stars still clinging to the walls of our old bedroom as they demolished the cottages.
I was 14, Margaret had left school and had a job and Ellen had been married for a couple of years and they lived in a flat in Station Road. Dad came home from work one night and he had to tell us he had been made redundant from his job, so he had to find us somewhere else to live. Margaret and I were really upset, we did not want to move!
But Dad sorted it out, he got another job, at the Cambridge pumping station (now the Museum of Technology) , and the council rented us a house, but the house was on the other side of town, Arbury Estate, it seemed miles away from our friends, but there was no other option. It was winter 1962 when we moved, Dad and Margaret had to go to work, so Mum and I had to sort out the moving, we had a removal company move us, and when they had finished, I had to take the key to the house back to the manager of the Laundry, I think his name was Mr Dorsey. We then ordered a taxi and together with the cat and Tinker the dog we arrived at our new home. It was freezing cold, the house was brand new, and I think it was colder inside than out. Dad eventually ended up working for the University in the Engineering Department, being in charge of the boilers in the teaching lab.
So, our new life began. The next morning it was freezing cold, but my sister had to go to work and I had to go to school. But to go to Netherhall school involved 2 buses each way, nightmare!
Christmas came and went and School Easter Holidays in 1963 were on the horizon, I knew I did not want to stay at school any longer, so I went to talk to the Head Teacher of Netherhall at the time, Miss Wilkinson, I told her I wanted to leave school, but she said I was only 14 and could not leave. She looked at the calendar and said, you will be fifteen in the Easter holidays, if you find a job that you can start when you are fifteen you can leave. That is what I did! Murketts Motor Vehicle Company had a repair workshop in Histon Road and I became a receptionist, telephonist and general office worker. It was a bit of a shock as I was very shy, and most of the staff were men.
Looking back, I had a very happy childhood, we did not have much money, but we had a good time, and we made the most of what we had. Looking at the recent pictures that my husband Nick took the other day of Laundry Lane, it made me sad to see how neglected it is now. But that is progress for you! After my marriage to Nick in 1968, our first home was at Swann’s Terrace (off Mill Road) before moving to Shepherds Close Cherry Hinton where we resided for 45 years bringing up our two boys before moving to Church End in 2015.
Penny Nicholas (Jackson)
The Laundry Lane / Arnold Layne Pink Floyd Connection.
Added by D J (Nick) Nicholas
The story of the Pink Floyd song Arnold Layne has never been fully explained, and probably never will, the Lane although called Laundry Lane had so many Arnolds living there in the very early days, it was called (unofficially) Arnold Lane. If you listen to the lyrics of Arnold Lane by the Floyd, you will gather that it is pertinent to an individual (known to the police) as an alcoholic, and a thief who stole items of clothing from the washing lines in the area, it is believed he was an Arnold (one of the many that lived in the Laundry Lane cottages) and as the nearby Homerton Colleges had lots of ladies lodging in the area, it was a like a child in a sweet factory, with an abundance of quality undergarments to pilfer. He also had an illegal still in a shed at the back of the cottages where he brewed illegal hooch and sold it on.
The connection here is that Kevin Arnold was a friend of Roger (Syd) Barret and it was one of Kevin's relatives that was the perpetrator of these acts. Obviously he not only stole ladies' clothes, but men's attire as well, as it is rumoured that Syd Barret was one of his customers, (Syd being totally unaware of where the booty came from) He was eventually caught and served time for his misdemeanours. Hence it can be assumed that Syd used this knowledge to pen the song, Arnold Layne. Below I have written down an abridged version of the lyrics.
Arnold Layne had a strange hobby
Moonshine, washing line
They suit him fine
On the wall hung a tall mirror
See-through, baby blue
He dug it
Oh, Arnold Layne
It's not the same
Takes two to know
Two to know
Why can't you see?
Now he's caught
A nasty sort of person
They gave him time
Doors bang, chain gang
He hates it
Oh, Arnold Layne
It's not the same
Takes two to know
Two to know
Why can't you see?
The song was Pink Floyd's 1st Single and was recorded on Feb 8th & was released on the 11th March 1967.
Michelle's Notes - A draft History of Cambridge Steam Laundry:
Laundry work was a traditional trade in Cherry Hinton, usually carried out by women of the village. The main clients were the colleges of Cambridge University, but the laundries also served local hotels, schools and families.
Before motorised vehicles, the washing would have been delivered and picked up by horse and cart or donkey and cart.
With the rise of the steam-powered industry in the later Victorian period, the traditional manual laundries were overtaken by mechanised steam laundries. With the establishment of the Cambridge Steam Laundry in 1881, in the fields west of Cherry Hinton village, much of the trade soon diverted there.
The Steam Laundry was built in Cherry Hinton parish on the site of an old brewery and was opened by 18th October 1881 for business. It included a large area of drying ground. Further research is needed to learn more about the brewery that is said to have once stood on this site.
Cambridge Steam Laundry was established in 1881 by Ginn, a Cambridge solicitor, who made Josiah Chater the secretary of the newly formed company. Newspapers reported on the formation of the new public company by March of 1881.
You can read more about Samuel Ginn here:
Capturing Cambridge are currently transcribing and publishing the diary of Josiah Chater - you can find out more about this on their website here:
They state that: "Josiah Chater records in his diary the establishment of the Steam Laundry Company. On 11 Feb 1881 he writes:
"Had a pipe with Ginn the solicitor; he told me about a new project of a Laundry Company he had in view to which I am to be secretary if it comes off. He has the offer of an estate of 4 acres, with buildings on it, at Cherryhinton, opposite the waterworks, and he has a capital man in view as a manager." Josiah was appointed secretary and the first meeting of the directors was on 5th March. It was decided to demolish the brewery which had stood on the site; by 18th October the laundry opened for business. The first customers were Cavendish College and Mrs Todhunter, wife of Isaac Todhunter, honorary fellow of St John’s College. Josiah as secretary was paid £25 per year, the manager was paid £1 per week and the manageress £1 10s per week.
By February 1882 there were problems though. Josiah found the books in a bad state and did not think that the manager and his wife were competent. There had been many mistakes in sending linen back home. Eight cottages for workers had been built near the laundry and a Dr Cunningham, a graduate of Harvard then living in Cambridge, had been consulted on the problem of disposing of the soap suds without interfering with the sewage system." (Capturing Cambridge)
In January 1882 we find evidence of the trouble referred to by Josiah above, in the form of an advert for a Forewoman for the Laundry who "must understand book-keeping":
By March 1882 we begin to see the first advertising for custom by the new Cambridge Steam Laundry Company. The advert below ran for several months in various publications.
The advert above states that full information may be obtained from No. 2 Alexandra Street, Cambridge. This was the office of the Cambridge Reform Building Company. This office was given up quickly because it was too small and moved to 5 Alexandra Street.
You can read more about Alexandra Street on Capturing Cambridge here: https://capturingcambridge.org/museum-of-cambridge/museum-exhibit-stories/7-alexandra-street/
OS 25" 1888 (surveyed 1885) Showing the site of the newly established Cambridge Steam Laundry with its drying field and lane leading to the workers houses (left side of the picture above - Cherry Hinton Hall is shown to the right side of the picture above with Coe's Market Garden Farm (Lime Tree Farm) in the centre with its orchards.
In August 1882 a complaint was published in the Cambridge Newspaper (see below) about the contamination of water. This matter soon seems to be resolved and no further public reports are made. It does help us identify the water source being used for the works. The article refers to an open ditch which ran at the back of the Steam Laundry building and although not visible above ground there today. You will note on the map above that there are two long water-filled troughs which must have been made for use by the laundry.
The laundry continued with consistent, regular advertising for business in the newspapers. You'll see from the advert below that the offices have now moved from No. 2 Alexandra Street to No. 5 and that the manageress of the laundry is Miss Daniel.
By December 1885 the manageress is Mrs Pratt. The advert below also describes the laundry site a little more by mentioning the "Spacious well ventilated sorting, washing and ironing rooms and an extensive meadow for drying ground"
By May 1887 we start to see the first of many sponsorship adverts between the Steam Laundry and Reckitts Blue.
You can read more about Reckitts Blue at the 'Old and Interesting' website here:
These sponsored adverts linked between the manageress of the Steam Laundry and Reckitts continue for many years and appear in adverts all over the country, providing a great deal of coverage and promotion for both parties.
1888 Kelly’s Directory:
Steam Laundry Co. Limited (Josiah Chater, sec.) 5 Alexandra Street; works, Cherry Hinton
In 1889 we get the first look at the Cambridge Steam Laundry Company's logo in an advert placed in the Cambridge Independent Press. You'll also see that Mrs Pratt is still the manageress and Josiah Chater still the secretary.
In the financial papers and financial sections of general newspapers continuing information about the share prices of the company are given regularly over the years.
In the 1890s there were newspaper adverts for more workers needed at the laundry, which provided employment for local people.
The first full record of the people who worked and lived on-site at the new laundry is in 1891. The 1881 census was taken before the Steam Laundry was opened so there are no details for it for that year. The 1891 census shows 7 households living at the laundry site. James Pratt is listed as the manager along with his wife Annie Pratt who is the manageress. The remainder of the families appear to be housed due to the wives working at the company.
On the OS Map (25" 1888-Surveyed 1886) you can see a terrace of 6 cottages down Laundry Lane and 2 separate semi-detached houses set back, facing Cambridge Road (Cherry Hinton Road) - it is not clear if these last 2 houses are part of the laundry houses. However, the 1901 Census lists two households (with the laundry manager & family living in one and the laundry Carman & family living in the other) as being on Cambridge Road and the rest are called Laundry Cottages Cambridge Road. It would make sense that the manager/s would have higher-grade houses, separate from the main workers.
James E Pratt Head M 35 Laundry Manager – Norfolk Old Catton
Annie A Pratt wife M 31 Laundry Manageress – Loughton Essex
Grace A Pratt daughter 6 Scholar – Cherry Hinton
Daisy M Pratt daughter 4 – Cherry Hinton
Fred Thomas Pratt son 10 months – Cherry Hinton
Mary Ann Pratt mother widow 55 – Brook Norfolk
Keziah Read servant single 14 Domestic Servant – Petersfield Hampshire
Cambridge Road Laundry – (Cambridge Road is Cherry Hinton Road today)
John Osbourne Head M 67 Farm Labourer – Great Wilbraham Cambs
Ann Osbourne wife M 64 Laundress – Little Wilbraham Cambs
Annie McDonald Boarder 46 widow Laundress – Hanover Square St George London
Wilfred Freeman Head M 38 General Labourer – Royston Cambs
Jane Freeman wife M 38 Laundress – Cherry Hinton
John Henry Fuller step-son s 15 General Labourer – Cherry Hinton
Sidney Fuller step-son 8 Scholar – Cherry Hinton
Isaac Read Head M 48 – Cherry Hinton - Buckworth Hants *Defective eyes*
Elizabeth Read wife M 46 Laundress – Walworth Surrey
Annie Read daughter s 18 Packer and Sorter in Laundry – Worcester Park Surrey
Jessie Ann Read daughter s 16 Packer and Sorter in Laundry – Worcester Park Surrey
Mary Elizabeth Read daughter 12 Scholar – Petersfield Hants
May Read daughter 10 Scholar – Petersfield Hants
George Patten Head M 30 Carman – Cherry Hinton
Jane Patten wife M 26 Laundress – Cherry Hinton
Percy George Patten son 2 – Cherry Hinton
Arthur Nightingale Head M 34 General Labourer – St Andrew the Less Cambridge
Sarah Anne Nightingale wife M 35 Laundress – Thriplow Cambs
Julia L Nightingale daughter 6 Scholar – Cherry Hinton
Arthur George Nightingale son 5 – Cherry Hinton
Ernest H Nightingale son 2 – Cherry Hinton
Emily Ann Benstead Servant s 12 Domestic Servant – Swaffham Prior Cambs
Margaret Daniels Head widow 53 Living on own means – Edinburgh Scotland
*In 1891 the secretary of the Steam Laundry, Josiah Chater and his family - including Augustine Chater who would later take over the role from his father as secretary of the Steam Laundry - lived in Hartington Grove, off of Hills Road Cambridge*
1892 Kelly’s Directory
Steam Laundry Co. Lim. (Josiah Chater, sec.), 5 Alexandra st
In February 1892 the newspapers reported on the death of a well-known Cherry Hinton man, one of the Pamplin Brothers of the Steam Engine fame, who had a steam engine works in Cherry Hinton at the junction of Coldhams Lane and Cherry Hinton High Street.
Eliab Wright Pamplin died as a result of an accident, in which it was believed that he fell from the loft of his stable. The report notes that "Mr Pamplin was for some years Manager to the Cambridge Steam Laundry Company". We know that Mrs Pratt was still manageress in 1899, it is not clear when Mr Pamplin was manager but Mrs Pratt still continued to be manageress for some years.
There were many steam laundry businesses across the country by the 1890s and many books were written about the processes, equipment and running of these establishments. The newspaper article below discusses the wages of the Cambridge Steam Laundry Company as a comparison.
The continuing adverts both for the business and for employees gives us useful pieces of information that we can use to build a picture of the machinery used, the jobs available and the workings of the Steam Laundry. Click on each below to expand them.
1896 Kelly’s Directory
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co. Limited (J. Chater, sec.) Cherry Hinton, Camb
Steam Laundry Co. Limited (Josiah Chater, sec.) 5 Alexandra St. Cambridge
The following newspaper article from December 1899, gives a report on proprietors and employees of Steam Laundries and is extremely useful as it includes the Cambridge Steam Laundry in the listings, giving a list of names of people working there. - you'll see the error in the print calling Cherry Hinton 'Cherry Linton'!
Cambridge Road –
James C Pratt Head M 45 Laundry Manager - worker – Norfolk Old Catton
Annie A Pratt wife M 41 Laundry Manageress -worker – Loughton Essex
Grace A Pratt daughter s 16 Pupil School – worker - Cherry Hinton
Daisy M Pratt daughter 14 – Cherry Hinton – Typist Pupil – Own account at home
Frederick T Pratt son– Cherry Hinton
Annie A Pratt daughter 7 – Cherry Hinton
Rose M Pratt daughter 7 – Cherry Hinton
Mary A Pratt mother widow 68 – Brook Norfolk
Margaret Daniel mother-in-law widow 63 – Scotland
Arthur H Wolfe Head M 32 – Laundry Carman – worker – Cambridge
Alice Wolfe wife M 33 – Little Wilbraham
Rose Wolfe daughter s 13 - Cambridge
Harold Wolfe son 8 – Cambridge
Laundry Cottages Cambridge Road Cherry Hinton –
Ann Osbourne Head Widow 73 – Little Wilbraham Cambs
Agnes M W Maloney niece m 33 Laundress – worker – London
Henry J Frost Head M 37 – Steam Laundry – worker – Cambridge
Jane Frost wife M 38 – Laundress – worker – Great Easton Essex
Christopher W Frost son 12 – Cambridge
Montague H Frost son 10 – Cherry Hinton
William H Frost son 7 – Cherry Hinton
Henry J Frost son 5 – Cherry Hinton
Robert G Frost son 1 – Cherry Hinton
Arthur J Case Head M 28 – Asylum Attendent – worker - Cambridge
Ann Case wife M 26 – Silverstone Northants
Frederick E Coe Head M 27 – Waterworks Stoker – worker – Cambridge
Ellen Coe wife M 30 – Teversham
Ellen E Coe daughter 6 months – Cherry Hinton
William Tingery Head 33 Foreman & Coal Porter – worker – Wheathampstead Herts
Minnie Tingery wife M 32 – Cambridge
Frances Tingery daughter 10 - Cambridge
William E Tingery son 8 - Cambridge
Dorothy Tingery daughter 1 – Cambridge
Arthur Nightingale Head M 44 – Brewers Labourer – worker - Cambridge
Sarah A Nightingale wife M 45 – Laundry Worker – worker – Thriplow Cambs
Julia L Nightingale daughter s 16 – Laundry Worker – worker – Cherry Hinton
Arthur G Nightingale son 15 – Whitesmiths Assistant – worker – Cherry Hinton
Ernest H Nightingale son 13 – Errand Boy – worker – Cherry Hinton
William M Nightingale son 6 – Cherry Hinton
Frederick Bowles Head M 30 – Coal Carter – worker – Fulbourn Cambs
Mary A Bowles wife M 28 – Whittlesford Cambs
Frederick Bowles son 2 – Cherry Hinton
Redvers Bowles son 6 months – Cherry Hinton
Pretoria May Bowles daughter 6 months – Cherry Hinton
*In 1901 the secretary of the Steam Laundry, Josiah Chater and his family - including Augustine Chater who would later take over the role from his father as secretary of the Steam Laundry - lived in Hartington Grove, off of Hills Road Cambridge*
Extensive regular advertising continues for the Steam Laundry in the local newspapers, again providing us with interesting clues and information about the business.
In 1903 the Cambridge Steam Laundry opened new Offices at 84 Regent Street Cambridge.
With continued drainage of the land and management of the various streams crossing the fields to the west of the Steam Laundry, development continued across the western parish of Cherry Hinton, along Cherry Hinton Road towards Hills Road, which was known as 'New Cherry Hinton'. With the growing number of new houses, streets and shops, a new laundry called The Swiss Laundry, was built on the higher ground further to the west. The Swiss Laundry was founded in 1904 by Mr Chapman and Mr Goundry on the former site of a tannery. It offered a Swiss finish to table linen. This new laundry was to be in direct competition with the Cambridge Steam Laundry.
It is worth further research to see what effect this event had on the Cambridge Steam Laundry share prices.
As a result, the advertising campaign for the Cambridge Steam Laundry went into overdrive with many repeated and varied advertisements being placed in many local publications and newspapers. Some are shown below - click on each to open them fully.
By 1907 Cambridge Steam Laundry had progressed from donkeys/horses and carts to including tricycles for their collections and deliveries.
In 1907 Cambridge Steam Laundry worker, 16-year-old Montague Frost, was involved in a serious cycling accident whilst riding a Steam Laundry carrier tricycle laden with linen.
The advert below shows that things must have continued to go well for the Steam Laundry despite the competition further up the road, this was in part probably due to the sheer amount of new development leading to a decent number of customers going around. It's also worth noting that despite opening the new offices in Regent Street, the office at 5 Alexander Street was still in use.
In February 1909 drama unfolds with a robbery at the Steam Laundry premises. This is then reported in several newspapers across the country as well as locally.
Along with adverts seeking new staff the Steam Laundry continues with its regular advertising but is now able to include a phone number for the first time.
1911 Census - Cambridge Road now called Cherry Hinton Road
Mary Ann Oakman wife 23 – Laundry Hand Steam Laundry – worker - Cambridge
Henry William Oakman son 6 – Scholar - Cambridge
Annie A Pratt wife 51 – “ “ “ “ – Laundry Manageress -worker – Loughton Essex
Fredrick A Pratt son 20 s – Clerk Government Telegraph – worker – Cherry Hinton
Annie A Pratt daughter 17 s – Cashier Café – Cherry Hinton
Rose M Pratt daughter 17 s – Teacher (Pupil) School – Cherry Hinton
Harrold G Daniel brother-in-law 45 s – Journalist – at home – Loughton Essex
Elizabeth Wolfe wife 38 M “ – Laundry Ironer Steam Laundry Company – Chesterton
Annie Coe wife 38 M – Dressmaking – own account, at home – Compton Devon
Arthur Coe son 9 – School – Cherry Hinton
Annie Coe daughter 6 – School – Cherry Hinton
Jane Frost wife 49 - “ “ “ - Essex
Christopher Frost son 21 s – Labourer to Carter – Cherry Hinton
Montague Frost son 20 s – Labourer to Carter – Cherry Hinton
William Frost son 18 s – Farm Labourer on Land – Cherry Hinton
Harry Frost son 16 s – Farm Labourere on Land – Cherry Hinton
Robert Frost son 11 s – School – Cherry Hinton
Sidney Frost son 8 s – School – Cherry Hinton
Emily Patten wife 28 M – Trumpington
Rose Patten daughter 7 – School – Cherry Hinton
Frederick Patten son 4 – Cherry Hinton
Sidney Patten son 4 – Cherry Hinton
Maude Patten daughter – 3 months – Cherry Hinton
Emily King 30 M – Laundry Maid Steam Laundry – worker – Arlesey Beds
Olive Harriet Miller wife 47 M “ “ “ “ – Forewoman Laundry – worker – St Pancras Islington
William Frederick George Miller son 11 – School – Wood Green Middlesex
Robert Rick Miller son 8 – School – Wood Green Middlesex
Sarah Ann Nightingale wife 55 M – “ “ “ “ – Laundry Ironer – worker – Thriplow
Julia Louise Nightingale daughter 26 s – Laundry Ironer – worker – Cherry Hinton
Arthur George Nightingale son 25 s – Whitesmith – worker – Cherry Hinton
Ernest Henry Nightingale son 22 s – Wheelwright – worker – Cherry Hinton
William Mark Nightingale son 16 s – Under Gardener – worker – Cherry Hinton
Mary Ann Bowles wife 38 M “ “ “ “ – Whittlesford Cambs
Dorothy Bowles daughter 13 – School – Cherry Hinton
Frederick George Bowles son 12 – Cherry Hinton
Redvers Bowles son 10 – Cherry Hinton
Pretoria May Bowles daughter 10 – Cherry Hinton
*In 1908 Josiah Chater died, the role of secretary to the Steam Laundry Company most likely fell to his son Augustine Chater at this date. In 1911 Augustine was living in Hartington Grove, off of Hills Road Cambridge*
In 1912 we find the first mention of the use of motorised vehicles for the Steam Laundry.
By May 1916 the effects of the First World War on businesses were being felt and a claim was placed by the Steam Laundry to hold on to their key worker, William Henry Wenham, rather than him go off to war, stating that if he were to go, they would probably have to shut down. We can see from the newspaper report below that the Steam Laundry was engaged in army work by the washing of army blankets.
Throughout 1917-1918 the Steam Laundry places less of its regular weekly newspaper adverts for business and instead, there is a constant stream of weekly adverts places requesting staff for various jobs. The advert below, for example, states that a war bonus is included.
In July 1918 we can see that William Henry Wenham was granted another 3 months' extension to continue working at the Steam Laundry rather than be sent of fighting. This must continually be requested.
For a few years after the war there were quite a lot of newspaper adverts placed for job vacancies at the Steam Laundry but no real regular adverts for business like there had been before the war. In 1923 we find the following newspaper notice which discussed one of the Steam Laundry cottages. We can see that the office at 5 Alexandra Street was still in use and that the manageress was now Annie Wheeler.
In January 1925 Mr Rutter dies and the newspaper obituary states that he was a director of the Cambridge Steam Company.
In 1933 another break-in at the Steam Laundry occurred with an interesting tale of how the culprit was caught!
The full tale unfolds in March 1933 in the trial report given in the newspaper, which you can read below - click on each picture in turn to see the full details!
In the report we discover that Edna Fisher, who gives evidence in the trial, is Chief Clerk of the Steam Laundry.
Saffron Walden Weekly News - Friday 10 March 1933 - British Newspaper Archive.
In the end, at sentencing, Thomas Spriggs was found not guilty.
1935-36 Cambridgeshire County Directory
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co. Ltd. Receiving office 4738 Works 87548 Chater, A. B. A.C.A., F.C.I.S., secretary
Cambridge Steam Laundry, Cherry Hinton road and 54 Regent Street
*Augustine Barrett Chater was Josiah Chater's son*
The following newspaper notice shows that the laundries are working together - how this worked in practice and affected the public ownership of the Cambridge Steam Laundry is not clear and would merit further research.
In 1937 we find the first general business advert in many years for the Steam Laundry. It is much plainer than those that they used to publish before the war, and you'll note that there is now a new phone number for the Steam Laundry.
1938 The Blue Book Cambridge Directory
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co., Ltd. Cherry Hinton meadows. 87548
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co., Ltd. (Chater, A. B.), 54 Regent st. 4738
By 1938 Kelvin Close was laid out to the immediate west of the Steam Laundry and the houses were built just before the war.
A very sad tale appeared in the newspaper in August 1939 which tells of the suicide of Francis Cort Carpenter, Manager of Cambridge Steam Laundry. You can click on each of the pictures below to read more.
With the outbreak of World War Two the Steam Laundry business was once again affected.
I visited the Cambridgeshire Archives at Ely to look at the records that they hold for the Steam Laundry at Laundry Lane. They hold a set of building bylaw plans which I was able to photograph.
Cambridgeshire Archives Reference:
KCB/2/SE/3/9/14843 Building byelaw plan and approval for alterations and additions to laundry, Cherry Hinton Road (Cambridge Steam Laundry) 11th Feb 1946.
Cambridgeshire Archives: KCB/2/SE/3/9/14843 Building byelaw plan and approval for alterations and additions to laundry, Cherry Hinton Road (Cambridge Steam Laundry) 11th Feb 1946.
I sent Penny the plan which showed the houses on the Steam Laundry site, and she kindly highlighted in yellow, which house used to be theirs - see below:
"I was pleased to see that the well was marked on the plan, it was practically in our back garden! It's a shame that the Lane is in such a mess now.....On the attached plan that you kindly submitted I have highlighted our cottage and we resided there circa 1952-1962."
From around 1950 the Cambridge Steam Laundry had begun a new service of Dry Cleaning and had begun its advertising campaign by 1954 Perhaps this was in part because it had now lost its traditional drying ground to the new houses. For several months there were many newspaper adverts placed to call for new employees at the Steam Laundry, in the 'Dry Cleaning Department'.
Mrs B Jackson & Co. 3 Regent Street, was one of the first businesses in Cambridge offering Dry Cleaning from 1900 onwards. The Swiss Laundry had also offered dry cleaning since its opening in the early 1900's.
In 1962, during the last years of the laundry, Mr H Dorcey of Cambridge Steam Laundry represented on the East Anglian Council section of the Institute of British Launderers.
In the same month of February 1962 Cambridge Steam Laundry changed its name and became the Cambridge Laundry and Cleaners Ltd with Mr Dorcey identified as the general manager. The company then takes over another laundry - The Coldham Model Laundry - bringing along a few of its staff.
In August of 1969, the end of the 88-year history of Cambridge Steam Laundry was coming to an end. The name had been changed in recent years, but the business did not last much longer. The remaining premises and land were listed for sale by direction of Lyndale Laundries Ltd.
By October 1969 the public auction sale of the site had been withdrawn, citing the reason that the site had been sold by private treaty.
The mystery surrounding this sale was noted in a newspaper article the following year. It seems that after the private sale of the land in October 1969, the business had carried on for almost another year under its name of Cambridge Laundry and Cleaners Ltd, which had been owned by Mr W Shaw. It soon becomes apparent that the Swiss Laundry had taken over the Cambridge Laundry business. The Cambridge Steam Laundry, albeit with a new name change, finally closed for good on the site it had occupied for 89 years.
Today the Cambridge Steam Laundry Buildings are all gone and in their place is a new housing development called Brothers Place. Laundry Lane remains as a rough road now leading to a dead end.
You can download a PDF copy of Michelle's History of Cambridge Steam Laundry Company and Penny & Nicks article for free, by clicking on the buttons below.
Please do feel free to get in touch if you would like to add anything to this story or if you have any further information on the Cambridge Steam Laundry.
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Suggested further reading and research:
Books that are worth reading on the subject:
The Steam Laundry and its Methods - Charles A Royce
How to Successfully Operate a Steam Laundry - Caleb David Patterson
The Steam Laundry. Its Construction, Equipment and Management - Taylor, John. (Consulting Laundry Engineer)
LAUNDRY MANAGEMENT. A Handbook For Use In Private And Public Laundries - Editor of "The Laundry Journal"
A Manual Of Modern Steam Laundry Work 1912 - Ellis Clayton
Steam Laundries: Gender, Technology, and Work in the United States and Great Britain, 1880-1940 - By Arwen P.Mohun (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999)
Further Suggested Archives and Records to Consult:
Cambridge University Library:
Laundry books, 1956 - 1968
Scope and Contents
Record laundry taken in and money paid. Several of the books in this series were used concurrently.
Dates: 1956 - 1968
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Among the archives of the Botanic Garden, personal records are closed to scholars for 80 years from the date of creation under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.
Found in: Cambridge University Library / GBR/0265/UA, Cambridge University Archives / Teaching, learning and research records / Archives of the Botanic Garden
Personal diaries: Volume 39 (loose inserts), 1930
GBR/0271/GCPP Tillyard 1/1/39a
Scope and Contents
Photograph of AT with ? Agatha at St Anthony-in-Roseland in Cornwall; also press cutting re a carol concert given by the Perse School at the Cambridge Steam Laundry works.
Found in: Girton College Archive / GBR/0271/GCPP, Personal Papers / Personal Papers of Aelfrida Tillyard / Personal and biographical records / Personal diaries, 1897-1959, together with documents formerly contained loose in the diaries, 1868-1959.
Personal diaries: Volume 50, 1935-11-01 - 1936-06-08
GBR/0271/GCPP Tillyard 1/1/50
Scope and Contents Oxford. Still at St Benedict's. Alethea also living in Oxford - frequent visits. Brief visit to Cambridge - resigns directorship of the Cambridge Steam Laundry. Continued illness: goes to a nursing home in Torquay in Jan. 1936. March 1936 - has an operation then convalesces at the Convent of the Holy Trinity. Otherwise this volume contains largely description of the contemplative and religious life - occasional comment on the world, eg the situation in Germany. Discussions with Father Cary,...
Dates: 1935-11-01 - 1936-06-08
Found in: Girton College Archive / GBR/0271/GCPP, Personal Papers / Personal Papers of Aelfrida Tillyard / Personal and biographical records / Personal diaries, 1897-1959, together with documents formerly contained loose in the diaries, 1868-1959. + taking on her father's role as a director of the Cambridge Steam Laundry Ltd. Writing: 'Concrete' and 'Can I be a Mystic?' both published by Tillyard, Aelfrida
The laundry of perfection
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co. Ltd
4 p. ; 19 cm.
Cambridge Steam Laundry Co. Ltd
Cambridge steam laundry, 80 Regent St and adjoining shops
The Cambridge Steam Laundry, Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge
p.7 ; 35 cm.
With map enclosed
Cherry Hinton Road
Cherry Hinton History Pages:
If you'd like to go straight to a specific article or blog post within the Cherry Hinton History Page you can click on any of the post titles in the list below and it will take you directly there.
Alternatively, you can use the search box above to search by keyword or you can use the index further below.
Memories of Laundry Lane by Penelope (Penny) Jackson. The Pink Floyd Connection by D J (Nick) Nicholas. The History of Cambridge Steam Laundry by Michelle Bullivant.
Kenneth Price, My Story - Memories of being a WWII evacuee to Cherry Hinton to being a Standard Bearer.
Memories of Cherry Hinton by Bryan Stevens
Cherry Hinton 1946 Onwards by Chris Gifford
Cherry Hinton Memories - Book Three
Cherry Hinton Memories - Book Two
Cherry Hinton Memories - Book One
Cherry Hinton Memory Books Collection - Introduction to the books
Sketching Cambridge by Michael Large - Cherry Hinton Hall
Old photographs of Cherry Hinton
Heathlands House Care Home Cambridge
Cherry Hinton Mortgage 1887
Cherry Hinton Community Groups Fair 2010
Down in the Cellars of Cherry Hinton Hall
Netherhall Lower School - Demolition
Cherry Hinton Community Archives
Cherry Hinton Community Archives Group (CCAN)
Cherry Hinton Events 2010
Cherry Hinton Local History Society
History of Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge
The War Ditches, Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits, Cambridge
Queen Edith's School, Cambridge. Sports Day Programme 1984
Queen Edith's School, Cambridge December 1984
Queen Edith's School 1983 Cambridge
Queen Edith's School Diary c.1982
Cherry Hinton Road 1981 - childhood scrapbook
Cherry Hinton Road 1981
Cherry Hinton Hall c.1980
Cherry Hinton Hall c.1979
c.1978 Netherhall Way Cambridge
Hinton Brook c.1960
Netherhall Fields Cambridge c.1956
Lime Kiln Hill Cambridge c.1956
Cherry Hinton Chalk Quarries 1900 -1930
Spring Head / Giants Grave Cherry Hinton, 1890-1910
The Weirs at Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge
Pubs of Cherry Hinton - The Russian Arms
Giants in Cherry Hinton
Lime Tree Farm and the Coe Family, Cherry Hinton
Ventress Farm, Cherry Hinton
The Tutton Way - Tottenhoe Way
About & how to use:
This is the blog page for my articles, memories and archives relating to the archaeology and local history of Cherry Hinton, a village to the southeast of Cambridge UK. The area covered is the old Parish of Cherry Hinton which today includes the Ward of Queen Edith's.
The Categories below are really the keyword index of what is on the Cherry Hinton History Pages. Each is a clickable link which will take you to an article or blog which contains that word or subject.