Mention launderettes to anyone and the reaction is often one of surprise that they still exist. According to NALI, the National Association of the Launderette Industry, numbers in the UK peaked at 12,500 in the early 80s but have since have dwindled to just 3,000.
We have people at both ends of the scale, who use the Highgate Centre laundry. Many people are on low incomes, then there is the one thing that everyone owns that none of us can wash at home – a duvet. That brings most people to a launderette at least twice a year.
Marian is in her 60s and is a regular visitor,”I can do a large wash for £3.00 which is great value for me, and I can also sit in the garden at the centre while I wait.”
Growing up I remember my mother washing clothes by hand, but then we bought one of the first Hoover washing machines where you had a pull out square card which depending on which way you put it back into the machine it would set the program. I remember my mother struggling as many times it would flood the kitchen floor, and when it was working it took ages to wash. I know that many local people struggle weekly to balance a budget and like many of our other free services the laundry is a key service for local residents.
Highgate Newtown Community Centre is proud that local residents can use our laundry at what are possibly the cheapest prices in London. We charge £3.00 a wash for the large machines and £1.00 a dry which last 40 minutes. We’re more than just a place to wash your clothes in Highgate, its a place to meet have a coffee, relax in our community garden make new friends.
Director Highgate Newtown Community Centre