Laundry Lane site of the Cambridge Steam Laundry
Cherry Hinton laundries
A decription of the history of laundries in Cherry hinton Road
During the years prior to WWI there was a major growth in the mechanized laundry industry. From a figure of 86,000 in 1907 employed in the industry nationally, this grew to 102,000 in 1912. In 1913 there were three laundries along Cherry Hinton Road:
- Cambridge Stream Laundry near Cherry Hinton Hall at the end of Laundry Lane
- St Mary’s Hand Laundry near Hinton Avenue
- Swiss Laundry, still in its original location
The women of Cherry Hinton had traditionally taken in washing from the colleges delivered by regular donkey cart service. Empty ground was used for drying. However much of this work would have been diverted to the Cambridge Steam Laundry Co. when it was founded in 1883 by Josiah Chater. It occupied a site north of Cherry Hinton Road, west of the Hall, as well as having a shop at 80 Regent Street. It had 5 acres of drying grounds and served families, schools, hotels and colleges. It was built opposite the Cambridge University and Town Water Works which were situated along Cherry Hinton Road, beyond the junction with Mowbray Road. The manager in 1911 was George F Clark. The office buildings used to be at no. 406.
It was reached down a road still known today as Laundry Lane although the old laundry and the cottages built to house its workers have disappeared. There were six cottages on the right of laundry lane. There were another two built at the end of the lane on the Cherry Hinton Road. These were called Hinton cottages according to the 1913 Cambridge Directory but seem also to have been called ‘Laundry’ cottages previously. The Laundry cottages are first mentioned as such in 1901. At that time they housed:
- Frederick Bowes 30 coal carter, Mary 30, Dorothy 3, Frederick 2, Redvers 6mos Pretoria May 6mos.
- Arthur Nightingale 44 brewer’s labourer, Sarah 45 laundry worker, Julia 16 laundry worker, Arthur 15 whitesmith, Ernest 13 errand boy, William 6.
- Frederick Coe 27 Waterworks stoker, Ellen 30, Ellen E 6mos.
- Arthur Case 28 [Fulbourn] asylum attendant, Ann 26.
- William Tingery 33 foreman coal porter, Minnie 32, Frances 10, William E 8, Dorothy 1.
- Henry J Frost 37 steam laundryman Anne 38 laundress, Christopher 12, Montague 10, William H 7, Henry 5, Robert 1.
The company was renamed as Cambridge Laundry and Cleaners Ltd and it was under this name that the Cambridge News wrote about the history of the firm in 1964. At that time it had acquired several other local businesses such as the St Ives Laundry, the Leys and the Coldham Model Laundry. In 1949 it was the first dry cleaning business in Cambridge.
In 1911 A.B. Chater is named as the secretary of the Cambridge Steam Laundry. In close proximity live other employees:
- 6 Steam Laundry Cottages: Henry James Frost b.1863, laundry employee
- 7 Hinton Cottages, Cherry Hinton Road: Arthur King Wolfe b.1870, laundry carman.
- Fishers Lane, Cherry Hinton: Louisa Donnex b. 1883 laundry maid.
- 3 Knuckles Cottages, Cherry Hinton Road (nr Water Works): Mary Ann Oakman b.1888 laundry hand. Her husband wasHenry ‘Harry’ William Oakman, born 1884, 2nd Bttn Essex Regiment. He was killed 10/10/1917 during the 3rd Battle of Ypres, probably during an attack near Poelcapelle.
- 231 (7) Maidstone Terrace: William Henry Wenham, laundry engineer
- 137 (5) Victoria Terrace: William Sizer, laundry hand. He served with the RAMC.
- 251 (7) Rhianva Terrace: Ernest William Harris, b 1882, a wash house laundryman. He became a gunner with the 99th Siege Btty Royal Garrison Artillery. He married Charlotte in 1906 and they had 4 children. In July 1918 he was dangerously ill in hospital (see letter from wife on record.) after being gassed on 29/6/1918. By 15/7/1918 he was no longer seriously ill and on 20/7/1918 he was sent to Huddersfield War Hospital.
- 14 Cowper Road: Mrs Merry, laundress. Her son served in the London Regiment and was killed 1.9.1918.
- 64 Hartington Road ‘Rosewood’: Mrs M Harding, laundry employee.
- 49 Marshall Road, Hartington House: Robert White, laundry worker.
- 15 Marshall Road: Mrs Hancock, laundress. Her son, Charles William Hancock died on HMS Cressy on 22.9.1914.
- 16 Blinco Grove: Elsie May Baker b.1895, laundry clerk.
- Campsea, Cherry Hinton Road: Robert Whyte b.1876 laundry worker.
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.
In 1911 William Chapman, laundry proprietor was living at no. 7 Rock Road and the company is listed as the Swiss Laundry, Carpet Cleaning and Shampooing Works.
In 1911 Joseph H Goundry, laundry manager, was living at 22, The Warrens, Blinco Grove.
The war must have left the laundries short of staff. In Oct 1918 the Cambridge Steam Laundry was advertising vacant positions in the local paper.
Sources: Cambridge News (Cambridgeshire Collection), UK census