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White Knight Laundry

White Knight Laundry to close

White Knight Laundry, which has operated in Kensal New Town since 1933, is to close with the loss of 75 jobs. This ends Kensal New Town's historic connection with laundry work which dates back to the mid-19th century when the area was first developed. White Knight is currently set in a building with entrances on 253 Kensal Road and Conlan Road.

House building first started in Kensal New Town, bounded by the Grand Union Canal (opened 1801) and the Great Western Railway (opened 1837), in the 1840s. Single-storey cottages with gardens suitable for drying clothes were the first buildings and Kensal Road, Middle Row, West Row, East Row and Southern Row all appeared between 1841 and 1851.

The area, isolated from the rest of London at a time when Portobello Lane (now Portobello Road) was a muddy track sometimes impassable in bad weather, soon became well known for its washerwomen operating from domestic homes.

Locally, the neighbourhood was known as Soapsuds Island. By the beginning of the 20th century, the cottage laundry industry began to be replaced by larger mechanised concerns.

The White Knight premises have reportedly been sold to a property developer.