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Cherry Hinton Steam Laundry van c.1929

The Cambridge Steam Laundry Company

History of the Cambridge Steam Laundry Company

For an overview of the history of laundries in the Cherry Hinton area including detail about this site see:

Cherry Hinton Laundries

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.

1885 map of Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge Steam Laundry and waterworks site

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.

Cambridge Steam Laundry c. 1929

Cherry Hinton Steam Laundry c.1929 Edna Fisher and Doris

Cherry Hinton Steam Laundry c.1930 packers

Cherry Hinton Steam Laundry c. 1948

Children at the Steam Laundry c. 1953

For ‘A draft History of Cambridge Steam Laundry’ and Penny Jackson’s reminiscences of Laundry Lane see:

In the 1960s the houses of Laundry Lane were demolished and the  occupants offered places in the new Derwent Close.




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