Subsidiary Companies

James Hayes Office



From the day it was formed, J. Lyons had an on-going need to launder linen; tablecloths, napkins and teacloths. Quite how this operation was performed is not known other than it must have been carried out away from the main business. It is known that Lyons had started to use the firm of James Hayes from as early as 1900 to supplement its own laundry operation at Pimlico, London which was known as the Belgrave Laundry. As the Lyons business expanded (restaurants, hotels and teashops) James Hayes undertook a growing amount of work from Lyons so that by the early 1920s it required a large capital injection to invest in more automated plant. Lyons offered that investment by taking a stake in the business and by 1926 had required all the equity. As well as providing laundering services to Lyons, and other companies, James Hayes expanded his family laundry service helped by his new ironing machines from America. Their 'Ful£worth' (full pounds worth) service became so popular that new depots had to open. At the outbreak of war in 1939 there was a tenfold decrease in commecial and domestic laundry work. This, however, was compensated for by the additional work generated by the War Office and other government departments. After the war James Hayes introduced a linen hire service which began in earnest in 1962. Its expansion was so fast that it soon accounted for 50 per cent of the James Hayes business. This was followed in the 1970s with a complete range of workwear garments from their garment hire service. Manufactured from Terylene and cotton the garments were claimed to represent a breakthrough in the design and processing technique of industrial apparel. James Hayes was sold to Johnson Group Cleaners in 1979, when Lyons were bought by Allied Breweries. At its height it was the largest laundry in Europe.


© Peter Bird 2002