Cartbank Laundry was founded about 1903 by brothers, John and Tom Gibson, the sons of Robert Gibson, the owner of Glentyan Laundry. Cartbank Laundry was built on what is now the flat grassy area, on the right of the entry to the cycle path opposite Waterston Terrace. Over the seventy years of its existence little change was made to the west frontage of the main building, and the cobbled path leading up to the laundry which, according to family descendants, was designed specifically to allow easy access to horses and carts. It was still in its original form when photographed in 1974. The building on the right was a later addition.
From an early age the two brothers had worked in their father’s laundry, gaining experience in all aspects of the trade. They were ambitious young men and well able to run their own business. In 1910, both brothers were married with young families and lived Easwald Bank. John was in No.18 and Tom was in No.17. Business prospered and before 1915 John, the elder brother, bought Riversdale in Tandlehill Road and Tom bought St Katherines in Ladysmith Avenue. The brothers were now men of property – no more bed recesses, no more shared toilets, and their own private gardens!
In the 1920s Gibson Bros. of Cartbank Laundry continued to expand and modernise. They had clients not only in surrounding villages, but also in Paisley and Glasgow. They no longer used horse and cart for deliveries, and owned a small fleet of delivery vans. In the 1920s it was a regular procedure for Cartbank Laundry delivery van drivers to hand over their week’s takings to the company’s main office on a Thursday. Unfortunately, this regular procedure was public knowledge in the area. On the evening of February, 1925, two robbers broke into the laundry main office and over three hundred pounds of silver coins were stolen. (More about the Cartbank robbery in the subsequent article, “Robbbery in the Laundry”.
The following advert appeared in the Brochure for Kilbarchan Fete which was held in Glentyan Estate on 8th June, 1929.
In 1937 Gibson Brothers became a Limited Company, with John and Tom as Directors and members of the next Gibson generation joined the family firm. John died in 1950, and Tom in 1965, and the next generation of Gibsons continued to run the company.
In the 1960s, laundry businesses all over the country, including Cartbank Laundry, saw a slow steady decline in demand for their services. Although Cartbank Laundry was still a viable, solvent business, the company ceased trading in 1974. The laundry buildings, later used as a store by the paper manufacturers, Smith and McLaurin, were destroyed by fire in July, 1977.
Above sketch is based on OS map: Renfrewshire, XI7, 1912
Excellent images of Cartbank Laundry are available on Canmore. Click on link below.
© 2021, Helen Calcluth, Renfrewshire Local History Forum