The well, as a location, to collect drinking water and to do your washing is a daily reality for many people around the world. Yet it is not only a basic necessity for survival but also a focus of the community, a place to exchange stories and greet one’s neighbours.
We built this laundrette to have community at its heart, as a place of kindness, diversity and inclusivity.
Inspired by a number of trips to Zambia, we were determined to make our beautiful laundrette a reflection of the community built around the tap stand or at the well. At the well, people from the village met together, washed their clothes, drank water, swapped stories and sang songs. We came to the revelation that, even in the UK, the laundrette was a place where social interaction was acceptable, welcomed even. If only laundrettes were staffed by friendly people who could talk you through the use of the machines and pour you a cup of delicious Extract coffee they could be a real place of community, a home from home.
We think that concerns about the burden of the human population on the natural environment and the finite nature of resources should be challenging our society’s culture of product ownership.
New models such as communal laundrettes are just one possible way of reducing society’s demand for material goods. Fewer, better quality, frequently serviced facilities serving a larger number of people can massively reduce the terrible amounts of white goods being dispensed.
High utilisation of shared assets, such as washing machines and driers, allows a greater proportion of the population to benefit from increased energy and water-efficient technology as it develops.
Meet The Team
Stokes Croft is known for its diverse, vibrant and fiercely independent community and is on a continuous fight against 'blandification.' It marks the beginning of the longest stretch of independent businesses in the UK.
Back in 1950s, 145 Cheltenham Road opened as a coin-operated laundrette serving the local community. After a devastating fire, and a decade of standing empty and derelict, we were inspired to take on the building, return the laundrette back to Stokes Croft, and build a business with values that the community shared.
Today we still meet customers who used the original laundrette, and it is a huge privilege to serve and engage with these locals once again.
We're a first-generation family business. It is strange to think back to its beginnings, as it is hard to remember a time before it existed. Half a decade of dreaming, planning and renovating a derelict laundrette and, unbelievably, 9 years of serving Bristol's laundry needs, hosting incredible evenings of music, art and food and getting to know and love a community of customers and an incredible staff team, who have by extension become part of our family too.
So here we are 2021, three women in business. No suits insight. No bonuses, corporate weekends or performance targets. Thank goodness! Instead, years of mopping, designing, laying floors, building tables, laughing, folding, re-laying floors, more mopping, inspiration, exhibitions, stories and the community that makes it all possible and worthwhile.
Shout out to our mum too, who made it possible and is an absolute legend!
Thanks to Marcia Walker for her photo and interview. Read it below!
From the beginning of opening our business, we were determined to make everything from scratch.
From our Homemade Lemonade, Homemade Chai Syrup, Homemade Soups, Homemade cakes, Homemade mugs, Hand-built tables...if we can make it, we do!
We like our food to be as fresh as possible and so we do not offer #fastfood but #goodfood
For the things we can't make, we're continually searching for new ways to incorporate locally, ethically and sustainably sourced produce into our menu. We are proud to be working in collaboration with many suppliers across the South West including Extract Coffee, Clarence Court, Bruton Diaries, Buxton Butchers and several local bakeries to bring you some of the freshest and best ingredients.