Wash and sew: life and times in the laundry

Tracy Manton preparing to embroider names on uniforms

Tracy Manton first applied for a role at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 1980 after her mum, who worked as an auxiliary nurse with the gynaecology team,  got her an application aged 17.

At one point both her sisters Karen and Alison worked with Tracey in the laundry before going in different directions. Karen became a staff nurse for inpatient theatres and younger sister Alison join the urology team.  

At the time all the laundry was all done in-house both for the Vic and other local hospitals. as well as doing contract work which brought in extra income. Hotels and other local businesses would take advantage of the industrial-sized machines and skilled team to wash fold and iron until the in-house service closed in 2011.  

Up to 50 staff would work day and night ensuring there was sufficient linen supplies for the hospital, recalls Tracy. “I remember it as being a place that was buzzing and very busy, sewing machines and the laundry room going there was a great atmosphere.”  

When the laundry closed, most staff were redeployed to other areas of the Trust but eight were kept on to manage linen distribution and the sewing room for colleague uniforms.

Once there were up to a dozen women on sewing machines who would all make gowns, theatre drapes and alter uniforms.  

Now the team of two focus efforts on uniform supplies, embroidery and distributing linen across the hospital.  


Posted in Home Page, NHS75.