Alt Ref NoLD
TitleLaundry Department
Related MaterialA glass produced to commemmorate the centenary of the laundry in 1985 is catalogued as SBHX4/764.
Administrative historyUp until the 19th century, the nurses, and latterly a washerwoman, had been responsible for washing the linen of St Bartholomew's Hospital, which was done on site. On 29 July 1766, the minutes of the House Committee (SBHB/HA/1/13, p438) record that complaints had reached the Governors that laundry was often dried in the Great Hall 'upon lines'. The Steward was ordered to prevent this in future as it was not only undesirable for the Hall but also very unpleasant for visitors to came to see the Hall and the paintings.
On 22 April 1884, the Governors of St Bartholomew's Hospital resolved that 'After hearing a statement from the Treasurer with reference to the cost of washing the linen and other articles used in this Hospital and the unsatisfactory manner in which the work has been done for some time past by the present contractors, it was resolved, that it appears to this Committee to be desirable to erect and fit up at Swanley on the land attached to the Convalescent Home there, and efficient Steam Laundry for the use of the Hospital'.
The Laundry opened in Swanley, Kent in 1885. The laundry underwent several refurbishments during its lifetime, and during the 1980s began to take on work for other NHS hospitals, as well as tendering for non-NHS work. During 1985-1986 the laundry took on work from the Hackney and Homerton Hospitals, changing its role to that of District Laundry to the City and Hackney Health Authority. It eventually closed down in 2005, since when laundry for the hospitals has been contracted out to external companies.
Access statusOpen
Extent3 volumes and 6 files
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