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.
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.
The building is covered in decorative reliefs
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.
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.”
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