The Grayshott Society recently commissioned and unveiled a further Blue Plaque for Grayshott – the eighth to be erected in the village.
Lady Haddon-Cave, Chairman of the Grayshott Society unveiled the Plaque on the old Grayshott Pottery stone building with a gathering of village residents present. The Plaque was to commemorate that prior to the Pottery moving to the site in 1967 it had been a laundry, servicing many local businesses for 72 years and is an important part of the early history of Grayshott Village.
After the unveiling Richard Peskett, Chairman of the Village Archive gave a talk about the history of the Laundry. He said; “The land adjacent to Grayshott School was originally part of the large tracts of land purchased by Edward I ?Anson in the 1860’s.
The original laundry building was constructed in 1895 on land then owned by Catherine I ?Anson and was intended to provide employment for girls leaving Grayshott School next door and no doubt the rapidly developing commercial areas of nearby Hindhead was seen as a sound business opportunity. The I’Anson family also had the School built in 1871 and Catherine I’Anson played a great part in the early years of the School.
Miss I Anson sold the premises and buildings in 1897 and various names appear to have been used since, one being “The Grayshott and Hindhead Sanitary Laundry”. It remained as a commercial laundry until the retirement of the Edmeads in 1966 and was sold in early 1967 to Surrey Ceramics better known today as Grayshott Pottery.
Power for the machinery came from a horizontal open crank stationary steam engine and boiler which not only provided steam for the engine but for the laundry as a whole, the water came from a large centrally located well which would have been in the centre of the Pottery shop today.
The steam engine survived in use until around 1960 when it was replaced by an electric motor. Drying grounds were situated between the rear of the laundry and Phillips Green. The plant and machinery for the entire installation was for a great number of years looked after by a Mr Arch Read.
Lady Haddon-Cave gave thanks to the Pottery for manufacturing and donating the Plaque and to Robyn Clarke for designing and making it. She went on to thank Richard for his talk and Phil Bates, who coordinated the making and organised the unveiling event.
Phil Bates who is a trustee of the pottery said; There is a unique history of the building as only two types of businesses have been on the site for 120 years: the Laundry and Pottery. There is a personal story to be told about a family connection that ties the two together. Arch Read looked after the plant and machinery and worked at the Laundry for 50 years and is the father of Phil Bates? wife, Shirley who helped in the laundry on Saturdays doing odd jobs. When the Laundry ceased in 1966 the Pottery bought the freehold site and Arch worked for a time for the Pottery before retiring. In 1967 Shirley and Phil got married and bought their first house in Grayshott; one room of which was previously a small hand Laundry. Phil went on to say that his involvement with the Pottery at Grayshott has now reached 48 years and he is hoping to reach the golden fifty like his father in-law which I guess will be something a bit unusual.