The Southern Counties Princess Laundry Company Ltd

Whippingham Street c. 1911
Taken from the book "Brighton & Hove in the Coronation Year of His Majesty King George V," copy owned by Peter Groves
Whippingham Street Friday 20th March 2020
Tom Groves

It seems that up until the 1970s there were a number of laundries in the areas both north and south of Elm Grove.  The Southern Counties Princess Laundry must have been one of the biggest in the locality, as it covered a large area at the top of Whippingham Street and the corners of the two adjacent roads; Shanklin Road and Bembridge Street.

Founded c. 1880

According to my book “Brighton & Hove in the Coronation Year of His Majesty King George V” it was established over thirty years ago, which means it was founded around 1880, perhaps a little before.  Commanding a position of rare importance among the industries of Brighton & Hove, it strikingly reflects the wonderful progress in scientific methods in our time.  Using the most approved hygienic principles, and abundantly meriting ever increasing patronage, it is justly acclaimed as indispensable to the community.  Articles are washed in crystal clear water drawn from the Company’s own well, and being situated in the most healthy part of town, where the sun and pure air ensure the goods are returned fresh and clean.

Much Esteemed Townsman

The splendidly equipped works employed over 100 people, and probably most came from the surrounding poorer area of town.  In 1911 the Chairman was the much esteemed townsman Mr. T. Homer Saunders and the  Works Manager was Mr. F. Goodchild.    The office in connection with the works was 24 Whippingham Street, however the factory address appears the have been 46 Whippingham Street.  The Company also had three receiving offices; 27 Trafalgar Street, 20 Prince Albert Street and 130 Western Road.


It’s a shame about the scaffolding in my March 2020 photo, I went back hoping it had been removed, but it was still there, apologies.  I wonder when the old building was knocked down, judging by the design of the new flats I would guess early 1980′ but I’m sure there will be plenty of mybrightonandhove readers who lived in that area and will know?

Comments about this page

  • My paper round in the early 1970’s took me around all 3 of the roads mentioned and that site was then occupied by Clarke’s bakers (and it smelt delicious at 7 o’clock in the morning). There was a covered loading bay for the vans on the Whippingham St frontage so I couldn’t say whether the building was the original – my gut feeling is, however, that it wasn’t. I don’t know when Clarke’s moved out – certainly after 1976 when I left for the RAF but I think they were still there when my brother had a flat opposite the site in 1979.

    By Geoff Robbins (19/04/2020)
  • Who ever would have thought that there could be such a stream of info as recently on defunct Brighton & Hove Laundries…this site is amazing, surreal sometimes as well!

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (20/04/2020)
  • The laundry building was converted into a bakery supplying shops, as Geoff said. My parents moved to the street in the early 80s when it was still operating but (born in 1984) I only remember it as closed. It was known as the old Forfars bakery to me – maybe they took it over from Clarkes.

    Closed, it was a great place to play because the onetime loading bay offered a nice horizontal area of concrete for roller skating and races etc on an otherwise steep street!

    In the mid nineties plans started being discussed to demolish it and build flats. I remember being taken along when my parents went to a public consultation meeting.

    In the pre demolition period the building was less secure than it had been and once we kids managed to get inside and have a poke around though we didn’t dare for very long. Perhaps some demolition work had already started, or it had just sat abandoned for a long time and started really falling apart, because I remember a lot of debris.

    Our family moved away from the street around that time so my memory isn’t that strong of what came after the demolition but I’d remembered it as being low rise flats specifically because I remember the plans were revised to be a floor lower after existing street residents complained at the proposed height. So either I’m remembering wrongly, on the flats didn’t last very long!

    Anyway I never knew the bakery had been a laundry before this photo and post, and that the fabric of the building wasn’t 50s as I’d vaguely assumed but the late 19th century.

    By Katie (11/08/2023)

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