London’s beautiful launderettes – in pictures

“I love launderettes. I love the smell of washing, the sound of the dryers and the punning names,” says Joshua Blackburn. The London-based photographer plans to immortalise every launderette in the capital: out of more than 300 he has, since the spring, shot 40. “I want the project to be a record of these amazing businesses at a time when they’re struggling to survive,” he explains. Across the UK, there are now fewer than 3,000 launderettes – down from 12,500 in 1970 – mainly because nearly 97% of households own a washing machine, compared to 65% then. “The colours, signs, machines, surfaces and geometry are impossible to resist,” says Blackburn. “I’ve explained to many owners why I want to photograph their premises and they look at me like I’m mad.” Launderettes, he adds, are a part of the community, like pubs and post offices. “But the social space they create is unique.”
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