The Lea Valley bleaching and dyeing works of William Connell & Co was firmly established on the riverside at Bakers Hill, Clapton by 1880.
Connell's laundry and dye works were extensive. Connell appeared as defendant in a party wall dispute with the District Surveyor for East Hackney (North) in 1887. Connell gave evidence that his laundry buildings at Spring Hill were constructed in 1879 and subsequently extended to create a complex exceeding 216,000 cubic feet.
The site of the laundry seems to have been dissected by the construction of the Clapton Railway Viaduct in the 1880's.
Connell supplied starch to other local companies under contract during the first world war.
Lea Valley Laundry was taken over in the 1960s by Initial Services.
A cluster of calico printers*, dye works, bleachers, laundries, calenderers** and drying grounds grew up along the riverside wharves from High Hill Ferry to Spring Hill from at least 1774.
Two calico printers and a calenderer recorded in 1795 were probably at Spring Hill (where there was a large calico factory in 1774) or at High Hill ferry (where George Baker and William Burch occupied intermingled buildings, backed by drying grounds, in 1826). Burch was normally styled a calico printer and Baker a dyer. They were there c. 1845 and may have been represented in 1855 by Baker & Hudden, calenderers, and James Burch, who had a carmine works.
Also at High Hill ferry were Robert Lyon, a bleacher in 1826 and 1838, and George Wickenden, a glazier or presser in 1845 and 1855. John Hammond also owned a calico printers slightly to the south at Lea Dock in 1832.
Do you know the story of the Connell's laundry? Did your relatives work there? Do you have old photographs you would like us to publish? Please get in touch.
'Hackney: Economic History', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 92-101.
The Builder, 1887
The Oil & Colour Trades Journal, Volume 49. 1916
* Calico is plain-woven textile made from unbleached, and often not fully processed, cotton. The raw but cheap fabric was bleached or dyed and printed in bright hues. Calico prints became popular in the 19c.
** A calender is a machine in which cloth is glazed or smoothed by passing between rollers.