Launderette – Levenshulme

14 Matthews Lane Manchester M19 3DS

It’s been quite a while – following a spate there has been an abatement.

Time was I couldn’t pass a coin-op operation without snapping.

It all began in a Wigan Washeteria one thing lead to another then another.

I was all washed up, rinsed and spun out – I had to call it a day.

Yesterday things changed – I turned a corner in life when I turned the corner into Matthews Road, the familiar aroma, signs and things signified came flooding right back – time stood still beneath a strip light lit suspended ceiling.

Washeteria – Hastings

Don’t forget to forget.

Big is not large, not small.

This is a dirty blue,  washed-out pale yellow, Alice in Wonderland un-wonderful land.

Time will not stand still – you’re in a spin, oh what a spin that you’re in.

Walk in, wash and wish.

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Launderette – London Road St Leonards

Mid blue linoleum tiles, patched here there.

And everywhere.

Signs

Everywhere.

In an uncertain universe, you can almost always rely on the launderette, to guide you on life’s soapy journey, through a complex series of immutable do’s and don’ts, arrows, slots, buttons and bows.

Giant is the new big is the new large.

I feel so small.

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The Wash Inn – Hastings

Standing alone in an unattended laundrette can be a chilling experience, a heightened state of awareness abounds, accentuating that all pervasive absence of presence.

The unseen hand, that write the notes, that speak to you in emphatic hurried caps, pinned or taped precisely on the walls.

The ghosts of clothes, still warm, now gone.

A Proust defying amalgam of aromas, that almost fills the air.

Just you and a series of slots, demotic instructions, care worn utilitarian surfaces and time.

Wash Inn get out.

Ashton under Lyne – Laundrette

Cycling along Curzon Road one sunny Sunday afternoon, I found to my surprise, facing me across the Whiteacre Road junction.

– An empty yet extant launderette.

One lone drier tumbling, lonely – an absence of presence, save myself.

The usual spartan interior almost unkempt, enlivened by four legged, almost alien, ovalish plastic laundry baskets. A sunlit shimmer of brushed steel surfaces, low lit and deeply shadowed linoleum tiles.

Under the illuminating hum of bare fluorescent tubes.

I snapped and exited, unwashed.

Great!

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Blackburn – Launderette

Wandering amiably down Whalley Old Road towards Blackburn one warm sunny day today, I came upon yet another launderette.

Somehow, somewhat frozen in time.

Front window cracked, but just about holding together, signage almost intact, machines formerly fully functioning – flagging, fluorescent tubes softly flickering, unguarded against the wood chip.

Patterned formica surfaces care worn and faded from use and abuse.

Washing done at home takes longer to dry (and costs you more).

You have been warned.

Wigan – Washeteria

I loved it.

In the United Kingdom known as launderettes or laundrettes, and in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand as laundromats or washeterias, and in Frimley too it would appear.

George Edward Penury created the word laundromat for Westinghouse.

According to NALI the National Association of the Launderette Industry, numbers peaked at 12,500 in the early 80s but have since dwindled to just 3,000.

The first UK launderette – alternative spelling: laundrette. was opened on May 9th 1949 in Queensway London.

In Wigan they never closed.

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