Battersea residents rally in memory of Queen Vic's knicks

Concerned: Susan Ekins, Mandy Gilham and Camilla Whitaker

Concerned: Susan Ekins, Mandy Gilham and Camilla Whitaker

First published in News
Last updated
Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter covering Wandsworth

An old laundry house rumoured to have washed Queen Victoria’s bloomers could be demolished to make way for flats.

The stiff-upper-lipped monarch probably would not like the thought of Battersea residents rallying in memory of her undies but that is precisely what is happening in one Victorian suburb.

Wandsworth Guardian:

A poster designed by neighbours 

The old Imperial Laundry built in the 1880s in Warriner Gardens, Battersea, is understood to have washed England's longest reigning monarch's clothes along with other members of Buckingham Palace.

It is now home to multiple interior design workshops.

A campaign, bearing the Queen’s face, has been launched by neighbours after a planning application was submitted to Wandsworth Council for partial demolition and the erection of nine five-storey houses including basement and roof space accommodation.

Wandsworth Guardian:

The building is covered in decorative reliefs 

Wandsworth Guardian:

However, the reliefs have been boarded up

Residents are concerned that if part of the building is knocked down the rest will follow and a piece of Battersea’s Victorian past, famed for its railways and industrial riverside, will be lost.

Toby Gilham, 46, a creative director who lives opposite, said: "It is a bit of a local folk story. It washed Buckingham Palace’s laundry at the turn of the century. I have tried to find out bits of information.

"It is a bit of a local history thing - talked about down the pub and stuff.

"The frustrating thing is the reliefs, sculpted down the wall, are boarded up at the front of the building. But there are beautiful reliefs on there of washer women alternated with citrus trees.

"They are absolutely beautiful.

"We only found out about it mid-last week and we are trying to mobilise people. It is full of designer workshops. It is a totally viable option that is in there with all these fantastic designers."

They have also raised a number of other concerns with the council including the increased height of the new property, traffic, noise and problems with parking.

Wandsworth Guardian:

The plans, if approved, would see flats with balconies, terraces and 11 off-street parking spaces. Plans also state that part of the Imperial Laundry site will remain in employment use.

Attempts have been made to contact Marsa Holdings who submitted the proposals.

A council spokesman said: “We have received a planning application for this address and a public consultation is now underway.

"The proposals can be viewed online at wandsworth.gov.uk/planning - search for application number 2013/6478. The consultation closes on March 28.”

Do you know more about the history of the old Imperial Laundry? Email ssleigh@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (3)

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12:10pm Tue 18 Mar 14

buggsie says...

More homes in the already overpopulated Wandsworth.
Would be a better idea to improve the road infrastructure and get traffic moving more freely.
More homes in the already overpopulated Wandsworth. Would be a better idea to improve the road infrastructure and get traffic moving more freely. buggsie
  • Score: 2

6:34pm Tue 18 Mar 14

BlackberryFanatic says...

This is entirely viable as a commercial property and if it's not then its sheer incompetence on the part of the managing agents. I've twice tried to let space in this development and no one even bothered to return my call.
This is entirely viable as a commercial property and if it's not then its sheer incompetence on the part of the managing agents. I've twice tried to let space in this development and no one even bothered to return my call. BlackberryFanatic
  • Score: 2

11:10pm Tue 18 Mar 14

susan ekins says...

We are constantly being told that Wandsworth is short of space for small businesses, so why lose even more of such spaces, not to mention destroying part of Battersea's industrial heritage. Once this street was a good mix of residential and small commercial; unfortunately, this mix is slowly being destroyed.

Perhaps I should add that this lack of care for small businesses is underlined by the fact that none of the current tenants were told of the proposed alterations.
We are constantly being told that Wandsworth is short of space for small businesses, so why lose even more of such spaces, not to mention destroying part of Battersea's industrial heritage. Once this street was a good mix of residential and small commercial; unfortunately, this mix is slowly being destroyed. Perhaps I should add that this lack of care for small businesses is underlined by the fact that none of the current tenants were told of the proposed alterations. susan ekins
  • Score: 1

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