Marie Blanche:

 Sold December 1983.


The sale took about 2 years during which the losses continued to mount: the final sale value was about 1/3 of that originally envisaged. AM & ELM were paid £2114 each for their shares.



The Sunday Times, May 1 1966.

£200,000 laundry balloon seems set for higher things.



 IN THESE DAYS of launderettes and fully automatic washing machines, it is a brave man who pays out over £207,000 for a loss-making laundry in South-West London. Peter Waddell, 46-year-old chairman of the Marie Blanche laundry company, has just paid this amount for the laundry division of London and Provincial Laundries, and at one swoop has doubled his laundry capacity and trebled his dry-cleaning capacity.
   As far as Waddell is concerned this is not a vote of confidence in the future of the laundry business as a whole but in the high-quality, personalised, expensive service which Marie Blanche operates. Working from a shop in Mayfair and a fragmented back-street laundry, in Battersea, Marie Blanche's success so far has been based on a list of only 400-500 high-income private clients, and a service for guests at many of the West End's leading hotels such as the Dorchester, Carlton Tower, Westbury, Brown's, the Mayfair and Quaglino's.
  For  having their clothes washed and ironed by hand within 24 hours customers have to pay between 4s. and 5s. a shirt (against the average of around 2s.). The fact that there is a separate tariff on the price list for silk shirts gives an idea of the type, of clientele.
  Waddell, a former Olympic skier, came across Marie Blanche in the early nineteen-fifties when he was still working at B P. He was already running a couple of launderettes in his spare time, and bought a quarter stake in Marie Blanche. Then, when he realised that the company was running into difficulties, he quit B P and after a short spell running the laundry decided to buy out the other interests. The total cost of 100 per cent. control was £5,500 — turnover was running at only £120 a week. Since then Marie Blanche has grown steadily — against the trend of the laundry industry — so that by last year Waddell, despite continuous absorption of buildings surrounding his backyard, faced a critical space problem. By this time he was a non-executive director of London and Provincial Laundries, which, after a reverse takeover deal, was keen on selling off its loss-making Battersea laundry. The deal was a natural and the - finance  wasn't too difficult either. Waddell was in the happy position of being able to rustle up more than £200,000 privately—his family had made money from Croid glue and his wife's family had-just realised a lot of cash from the sale of their Josiah Parkes lock business to Chubb.
   Waddell expects the two businesses to make about £50,000 profit this year and he is confident that future growth should enable a public flotation after five years. "This is our new family business," he says, "and I would like to see it quoted." The Marie Blanche balloon symbol (the company is named after Marie Blanchard, a French balloonist who is reputed to have delivered laundry to Napoleon by balloon) certainly seems set for higher things.






From Newark Advertiser (no date)

One of Newark's foremost industrial companies, Croda Adhesives off Winthorpe Road, celebrates 50 years of trading in the town this month.

Today, Croda's Newark factory is the company headquarters for an international network of adhesive manufacturing plants located across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

At home, meanwhile, it is interesting to think that whenever you tear open a Nestle or Cadbury's chocolate bar, the special food-safe 'cold-seal' adhesive which holds the packaging together may well have been produced in Newark by Croda.

As with so many of today's world-beating companies, however, the origins of Croda are humble enough, having been the brainchild of just one man and his innovative ideas about the ways in which glue could be marketed and sold.

The company can trace its origins back to 1911 when a Mr. P. H. W. Serle registered a company known as Improved Liquid Glues Co. Ltd. Up until that time almost every kind of glue was sold as a solid, requiring it to be dissolved in water and boiled before use. It was Mr. Serle's idea to manufacture a range of ready-to-use glues in liquid form, making them easier to apply and instantly attractive to both commercial and domestic users.

His factory - the first to make so-called 'prepared' glues in this country - was located in Croydon, giving rise to the company's first trade name, Croids.

Mr Serle's early glues (made in the traditional way from bone and animal hide) proved highly successful and in 1919 when Alcock and Brown became the first aviators to fly nonstop across the Atlantic, their large wood and fabric biplane relied on Croid glues in some of its construction.

Such success had already led the company to seek new, extended, premises in Wapping, and in 1920 it became a subsidiary of the large British Glues and Chemicals combine.

A year later, a further move brought Croid to Bulwell in Nottingham, followed eight years later by a further relocation to Bermondsey in London.

In 1940 the Bermondsey factory was heavily bombed and Croids production was transferred to a site in Newark already owned by British Glues and Chemicals.

BGC had acquired the Newark family glue-making business of Quibell Brothers in 1920. The name Quibells, however, continued to be used for trading purposes until as late as the Sixties.

Quibell's glue factory was located beside the Trent close to the old Bottom Lock, some distance off Winthorpe Road. Part of the premises survive to this day.

With the war over and the Bermondsey factory still requiring considerable repair, Croids decided to remain in Newark and develop their site adjacent to the existing Quibell's factory.

Building on from the warehouse loaned to them by BGC, Croids began to develop a new factory complex beside the main London-Edinburgh railway line.

And it was the foundation stone for this new undertaking which was laid 50 years ago this month on May 25, 1948.

At the stone-laying ceremony the Mayor of Newark (Mr J. H. Knight) described the new building as "making history for Newark" establishing a new permanent home for Croid after its previous wanderings around the country.

The new factory opened a year later in April, 1949, by the then BGC chairman, Mr Harold Cotes.

The Newark Advertiser reported that "The new building has a smart facade of facing bricks with stone dressings - inside there is a terrazo entrance hall off which lead offices and a terrazo staircase to the upper storey where the laboratory is located."

With the new works in full production the company was reported to be making no fewer than 85 different kinds of glue, each specially formulated for specific purposes - from use in the woodworking and leather industries to commercial packaging and bookbinding.

A new department in the late Forties saw the company experimenting with the first PVA emulsion adhesives which were to become the company's principal output during the Fifties and Sixties.

Croids played a central role in developing the new PVA adhesive technology, first by buying in the compounds from outside, but later using its own polymers, developed in-house. A great deal of additional pioneering work into the new processes was carried out in the Newark laboratories leading ultimately to the development of the first hot melt adhesives in the UK.

Another milestone in the company's history was reached in 1968 when British Glues and Chemicals (including Croid) was taken over by Croda International.

From that time onwards the company has gone from strength to strength in Newark and in 1989 celebrated the opening of its new multi-million pound global headquarters at the Winthorpe Road site in Newark.

From a company which came to the town almost as a refugee in the dark days of the second world war, the Newark offices of Croda now control a network of adhesive manufacturers across the globe from the USA and Canada to Brazil, Belgium, Italy and Australia.

New markets are currently being opened up in China and the Far East, while during 1997 the company's sales growth in South America was described as spectacular.

In Newark, meanwhile, investment in new technology remains the company's watchword with new plant recently having been installed to produce adhesives for the food packaging industry.

TOP: Chairman Mr Harold Cotes laying the foundation stone for Croids new works at Newark, May 25, 1948.