Ruthless techniques may have helped laundry business succeed

Gladys Avenue laundry c 1972
Gladys Avenue laundry c 1972
Lively Lady amid the  welcome-home flotilla of 400 small vessels off Southsea.'All pictures: Graham Stevens

NOSTALGIA: Home to Portsmouth and a hero’s welcome

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This is the laundry at Gladys Avenue, North End, Portsmouth in about 1972.

The Brunswick Laundry was opened in Brunswick Street in 1879 by AW White.

The business expanded and bigger premises were built in Gladys Avenue, which he was influential enough to have named after his daughter, and a dyeing and cleaning business was added in London Road.

Horse-drawn vans were used for collection and delivery with the west side of the laundry building being used for the stables.

Mr White also established himself in several other local businesses including the tram systems, furniture removals and storage, Clarence Pier, the Empire Theatre and the telephone systems.

A laundry worker in the 1920s perhaps gave some indication as to the secret of Mr White’s business success, explaining how, after working 10-hour days from the age of 14 to 16, young workers were given the sack to avoid the payment of the employer’s National Insurance stamp.

The Brunswick Laundry’s biggest competitor was Chapman’s, which was established by Elizabeth Chapman as a cottage industry in Hambrook Street in 1887 and rapidly expanded. The Brunswick Laundry was taken over by national Sunlight in the early 1870s.