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Nostalgia: Washing their dirty laundry in public in Glossop

A reminder of the days when Norfolk Laundry washed and ironed everything from shirts to overalls from a sweet factory, from its base on Ellison Street, Glossop.


The company closed a few years ago, the  buildings demolished and a small estate of houses built, but as you can see from the rather blurred photograph, Norfolk Laundry had been around for quite a long time.

It started when the only way of washing clothes was by hand at the kitchen sink, or by a gas-fired boiler which filled the whole house with steam.

Norfolk Laundry ended those wash-day blues by providing a door-to-door service.

Customers would leave their dirty washing in a bag on their doorstep, a man with a horse and cart would collect it and take it to be cleaned.

A few days later it would be back on the doorstep in a brown paper parcel tied with string ready to be worn again.

The business flourished and expanded and the horse and cart was replaced by a fleet of white vans.

The firm was started by two men called Waterhouse and Higginbottom who laundered uniform and work clothes for companies in the Glossop area and throughout Greater Manchester.

One of the most popular for the van boys, who accompanied the drivers, was a confectionery company in Manchester, where the lads always returned from dropping off the clean washing with their pockets bulging with sweets.

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