Along These Lines – The Heritage of Laundry

A collaboration with sound artist Anna Edmonds to design and present an immersive audio tour exploring Brighton’s laundry heritage. Along These Lines focuses on laundry to explore themes such as the reality of working class lives, women's work and economic independence, as well as the specific significance of laundries in the local area.

What we did

Together with Anna and a small group of volunteers, we explored local archives and resources to research and uncover stories, photos, and film of 19th and 20th Century laundry heritage, linked to Roundhill, Elm Grove, Hanover, and The Level. We designed and recorded 10 tracks experienced as an immersive soundwalk made accessible through locative mobile technology.

The Open Market

Learn more about the history of the Open Market and some important figures, namely local laundress Harriett Cowley and her husband Harry who helped set up the market in 1926.

A brief history of doing the laundry

‘Long before we had washing machines, doing the laundry was a job to be done by hand and always reserved for women.’ Stella Sims gives us a brief insight into the history of doing the laundry, accompanied by a laundry soundscape.

The Difference - Clean

Listen to The Difference (Part 1), from Clean - The Musical by Different Theatre. Sam Chittenden (lyrics) & Simon Scardanelli (music).Featuring Sharon Drain, Amelia Armande and the cast.

Roundhill Laundry

Hear a short social history of this hot spot area for laundries in Brighton presented by Geoffrey Mead, with information on Primrose, Tivoli and Mayo laundries found in the nearby streets.

Elm Grove Laundry

Hear about the social history of this area from Geoffrey Mead and Anna, with a look at Princess Laundry and Cox’s Laundry found on nearby streets just off Hartington Road.

Everyday Washing

Hear an artistic piece exploring a selection of laundry diary extracts found in the Mass Observation Archive at The Keep, enlivened by Anna, Helen and Survat and Emily. Diary extracts collected and assembled for this piece by Helen Dewhurst.

Hanover Laundry

Geoffrey Mead returns to provide further insight into the social landscape of this area, with information on Islingword Road laundry Gocher’s, a laundry which is still running today.

Our Local Laundry Landscape

Here Geoffrey Mead concludes his historical and social dialogue with general discussion on the local laundry landscape of Brighton & Hove, including interesting insights on The Level.

Laundry Music

Here you will hear a musical interlude of relaxing piano melodies paired with tactile hydrophone sounds recorded from inside a washing machine.

Laundry and Activism

Harriett and Harry's granddaughter Loraine tells us more about the experience of being a woman in laundry, through the lens of her grandmother Harriett. Extracts of audio used from and recordings of Loraine speaking by Esther Springett.

The results

Presented a taster soundwalk

as part of Heritage Open Days.

Led the final soundwalks

as part of Dreamy Place

Created a zine to accompany the soundwalk

that opens to show a map of the route

Made fabric hankies with a laundry scent

to help each participant immerse themselves

How we engaged with people

What good fun. I followed the walk on the app and liked the way the sounds triggered when i reached the correct spot.

one participant

I loved learning about the local heritage- i live near the Open Market and didn't know about all the laundries.
Photo by Moose Azim

local resident

Who was involved?

The Heritage of Laundry was a collaboration with Anna Edmonds with special thanks to project contributors Helen Dewhirst, Survat Kader and Stella Sims. The zine was created by Little River Press and the whole project was funded by Heritage Lottery.


  • Emily Atkinson

  • Lucy Jefferies

Image gallery