I visited to the launderette today, cleansing a fortnights garments, towels and bedding. I well remember the days before such convenience existed, when anything not easy to handwash would have to be delivered to the local laundry for their expertise. Laundries were establishments of good reputation, reliant upon their clients good offices for repeat trade and referral. The front entrance was steamy, with a damp crisp atmosphere that fully explained the thrust of business. The air was filled with the aroma of starch, a particular smell that could make my neck itch just from the thought of the next stiff collar that would most certainly irritate exceedingly.
Laundry staff, like needleworkers, tailors, cobblers, were vital to society, ensuring every man or woman for the cost of but a penny or two could present themselves with great appearance and best foot forward. Casual was for home, all other occasions called for the most splendid apparel possible, clean, laundered, starched, and pressed to perfection.