Catalogue description Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd

This record is held by Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

Details of 1011
Reference: 1011
Title: Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd
Description:

Records of the Millbay Laundry Group

 

This accession comprises records of the Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd with records of eight other laundry companies taken over by the Millbay management and retained as bases for subsidiary companies. In addition there are one or two records of Capital and County Laundries, popularly known as Kneels of Exeter, which purchased the Millbay Group in 1972.

 

The records were deposited by Kneels of Exeter and date from 1811 - 1980. Much material may have been destroyed by enemy action in 1941 when the company's head office was destroyed and the majority of records in the accession were generated around 1950 - 1980 and created by the Company Secretary. The accession is therefore large but rather incomplete, for example, there are relatively few accounting and production records. It should also be noted that poor series of records remain for some subsidiary companies, the survival rate for these papers seems dependent on the period between closure of the subsidiary and deposit of the records.

 

CORPORATE RECORDS

 

RECORDS OF INCORPORATION

 

Memorandum & Articles of Association

 

Resolutions

 

BOARD & COMMITTEE RECORDS

 

Board of Directors Minutes

 

Steering Committee Minutes

 

Managing Directors Committee Minutes

 

General Meeting Minutes

 

Sales & Production Staff Meeting Minutes

 

Agenda Books Board & Committee Papers

 

Reports of Directors & Statements of Accounts

 

RECORDS OF TAKEOVERS

 

Teignmouth Steam Laundry Co Ltd

 

Newquay Laundry Ltd

 

Bude Sanitary Steam Laundry & Carpet Cleaning Co Ltd

 

Launceston & District Laundry Co Ltd

 

SHAREHOLDING RECORDS

 

Share Registers

 

Returns to the Registrar Of Companies

 

Records of Individual's shareholding

 

Registers of Dividends

 

Circulars to Shareholders

 

Shareholding Administration

 

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

 

Records of Administrative Function

 

General Correspondence

 

Records of the Production Of Resolutions

 

Records of the Production Of Directors Reports & Annual Accounts

 

ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL RECORDS

 

BOOKS OF ACCOUNT

 

Balance Sheets & Annual Accounts

 

Ledgers

 

Journals

 

Miscellaneous Books Of Account

 

FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

 

Financial & Accounting Files

 

Taxation Records

 

RECORDS RELATING TO

 

EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

 

Terms of Employment

 

Service Agreements

 

Personnel Records

 

SALARY RECORDS

 

Directors

 

Senior Staff

 

General

 

PENSION RECORDS

 

Pension Scheme Rules

 

Pension Files

 

TRADES UNION RECORDS

 

Papers concerning recognition

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

Miscellaneous

 

PRODUCTION RECORDS

 

Turnover Returns

 

Service & Maintenance Contracts

 

MARKETING RECORDS

 

Advertisements

 

Photographs

 

PROPERTY & PLANT

 

TITLE

 

Deeds & Associated Papers of Plymouth Properties

 

Schedules of Deeds

 

4 Richmond Street

 

5 Richmond Street

 

6 & rear of 5 Richmond Street

 

7 Richmond Street

 

6, rear of 5 & 7 Richmond Street

 

8 Richmond Street

 

7 Richmond Lane West

 

York Street

 

LEASES

 

Lease Series

 

PROPERTY & PLANT ADMINISTRATION

 

Property Books

 

Property Files

 

Valuations

 

Rating Returns

 

Property Administration Files

 

Inventories & Stock Books

 

Fire Safety Records

 

INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION

 

Insurance Reports

 

Insurance Policy Series

 

Miscellaneous Insurance Policies

 

Insurance Administration Files

 

CONSTRUCTION

 

Building Leases & Agreements

 

Building Contracts

 

Estimates

 

Bills of Quantities

 

Building Accounts

 

Construction Files

 

Plans of Laundry site, Stonehouse, Plymouth

 

Plans of 81 & 83 Cornwall Street, Plymouth

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

Miscellaneous

Date: 1811 - 1980
Held by: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Creator:

Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd, 1896-1972

Physical description: 575 Files
Publication note:

A history of Millbay Laundry was written by Cecil Roberts, son of the company's founder, Harold Roberts entitled:- The First Fifty Years of "Millbay" by Cecil R J Roberts (Plymouth 1948). The history is available in the searchroom of West Devon Record Office.

Administrative / biographical background:

Company History

 

Pre-World War II

 

Millbay Laundry was originally started by Harold Roberts in around 1885 when he added a laundering service to the family outfitting business. The business operated from houses in Millbay Road and a shed in Martin Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth and soon expanded from offering just cleaning to undertaking dyeing as well. In 1896 with the help of W Oliver Hosking, F Adams and R J Bazeley a limited company was floated - The Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd - and a properly equipped factory erected along Millbay Road and Battery Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth.

 

In 1897 Millbay Laundry opened its first branch shop in Torquay, the company was to concentrate on branch shops and delivery vans to carry out its trade and used such means to extend its business outside Plymouth. There were even outlets in London and Bath as well as Devon and Cornwall in the early years.

 

In 1922 the company made its first takeover - of the Central Steam Laundry (Plymouth) Ltd, Richmond Street, Plymouth. Although the business itself was unprofitable and sold after 12 months, Millbay Laundry gained a certain amount of property in the area.

 

The first full-time Company Secretary appears to have been Stanley Marks FIAC appointed in 1931 to cope with the business's growing financial administration. The Millbay Laundry Company Secretary was to retain a central role in the company throughout its future expansion. Many of his original areas of responsibility however became designated to individual specialists - such as the Group Accountant - and each subsidiary company was to appoint their own Company Secretary rather than to be run directly from Millbay as originally occurred.

 

In 1932 Millbay Laundry purchased its second company, the long established cleaning and dyeing business of Mortimers (Plymouth) Ltd, founded 1773. Unfortunately very few badly damaged records survive of this original business. The company continued to be run by Millbay Laundry until 1958 when it became one of the constituent companies of the Millbay and Nerwquay Laundry Co Ltd.

 

Millbay Laundry also acquired in 1932 the nearby Eddystone Works, Millbay Road, Stonehouse, Plymouth - a clothing factory run by Tippetts, Son and Co Ltd. The building was modernised and used for all specialised cleaning, dyeing and carpet-beating work.

 

The company was very badly affected by war damage in 1941. The original Millbay Works was destroyed and the Eddystone Works badly damaged. Work however continued, fulfilling military contracts, in a series of small buildings along Battery Street: The works site was extensively redeveloped after the war to consist of a set of 4 buildings - The Eddystone Works, a reconstructed Millbay Works and newly constructed Battery Street Works and Smeaton Works. A good series of property and construction records survive.

 

Growth of the Millbay Group

 

Post-war expansion was fuelled by the opening of many more branch shops and the purchase of 6 new companies. These were:-

 

Teignmouth Steam Laundry Co Ltd of Station Road, Teignmouth, purchased 1952

 

Port House Laundry Co Ltd of Alphington Street, Exeter, purchased 1957

 

Newquay Laundry Ltd of Lanhevor, Newquay in Cornwall, purchased 1958

 

Bude Sanitary Steam Laundry and Carpet Cleaning Co Ltd of Higher Wharf, Bude in Cornwall, purchased 1958

 

Plymouth Sanitary Steam Laundry Ltd of Hyde Park Road, Pennycross, Plymouth, purchased 1959

 

Launceston and District Laundry Ltd of Hurdon Road, Launceston in Cornwall, purchased 1965.

 

The purchases marked several changes for the company. Prior to 1952 branch shops had been created with their own laundry facilities or local companies purchased and their business amalgamated with that of the parent company. No large independent concerns had had to be run. As such the post-war era saw a change in trading strategy and also in the administration and organisation of the company.

 

Proposals were rejected for the formation of a holding company and a system of subsidiary companies with a group administration and identity adopted. In 1958 Mortimers (Plymouth) Ltd and Newquay Laundry Ltd merged to become the Millbay and Port House Laundry Co Ltd (it also administered the Bude Sanitary Steam Laundry) and the Teignmouth Steam Laundry changed its name to the Millbay and Teignmouth Laundry Co Ltd. In 1960 the Plymouth Sanitary Steam Laundry became the Hyde Park Laundry Ltd and in 1965 changed its name again to the Millbay and Hyde Park Laundry Co Ltd. In 1965 too the Bude Sanitary Steam Laundry was also renamed to become the Millbay and Launceston Laundry Co Ltd, in the same year it purchased and merged with the Launceston and District Laundry Ltd. A diagram showing these developments follows this introduction.

 

Each subsidiary company had its own directors, (often made up of Millbay directors and those of the former constituent companies) company secretary and administration. Central control was maintained by a hierarchical series of directors meetings, culminating in the parent company board meeting as is shown below:-

 

Parent Company Board Meeting

 

(held monthly)

 

*

 

Steering Committee Meeting

 

(held monthly from 1968, met the Tuesday before the Parent Company Board Meeting)

 

*

 

Managing Directors Committee Meeting

 

(held weekly from 1968)

 

*

 

Subsidiary Company Board Meeting

 

Two of the subsidiaries soon failed to remain viable. The Millbay and Port House Laundry had closed by 1966 and the Millbay and Hyde Park Laundry closed in that year. The remainder of the Millbay Group was taken over by Kneels of Exeter in 1972. The Millbay and Launceston Laundry ceased trading in 1976 and the Millbay and Teignmouth Laundry in 1977.

 

Kneels themselves were taken over by the Johnson Group in 1978.

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