For many years now I have had ‘drycleaning’ saved as a search on the famous worldwide online auction site. I have been careful to ensure that my results are filtered because otherwise I would end up with hundreds of thousands of items daily including every item of clothing that has drycleaning somewhere in the title.

The reason that I have drycleaning saved is that in the past it has provided me with some wonderful historical curios from the textile care industry. I have found items that had been long forgotten, such a automatic tie presses, and have added them to my own collection that our family drycleaning business, Bradleys, built up over the decades.

Everything from an American postcard advertising French cleaning dating from the late 19th century to an unused Mutax brush set, pictured. They are wonderful display items and even though more than 100 years old, they are an invaluable item to any drycleaner’s active tool kit for preand post-spotting.

Something that got my attention recently was an item that appeared simply as ‘Dry Cleaning’. Upon further investigation it turned out to be a music group which had released a song called ‘Don’t Press Me’. They are apparently a ‘post punk outfit, but sadly apart from the band’s name and the title of the song, there was nothing for me of interest.

My addled brain led me to consider if there were any more textile care-related songs or band names. Yes, I know, I should get out more, but just think how me giving you this information might assist you in the unlikely event you might take part in a trade related quiz…

Song title wise, there is of course the famous ‘We’re going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line’ which was a popular song from the Second World War, with the song’s next line being ‘Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?’. The song was written by a Captain Jimmy Kennedy when he was with the British Expeditionary Force in late 1939 and turned out to be a little optimistic at that stage in the war.

Moving forward, a well-known band in the 1960s, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, released a track titled ‘Do the Trouser Press’, but any other link to, or mentions of, finishing equipment does not appear in the song. However, the Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band also wrote and released a song called ‘Shirt’ on the 1969 album, Tadpoles, first released on the Parlophone label.

This song has got the most pertinent and indeed funny verse that is a real parody of our industry and is certainly, for me, Top of the Pops. It sends up the concept of express drycleaning

Good morning. Could I have this shirt cleaned express, please? Yes, that’ll be three weeks, dearie Three weeks? But the sign outside says 59-minute cleaners! Yes, that’s just the name of the shop, luv. We take three weeks to do a shirt Just the name of the shop!? Yes, that’s if there’s an R in the month, otherwise it’s four weeks. Your name does begin with a P, doesn’t it? Well, no, actually, of course it’s uh…. Well that’ll be five weeks, then Five weeks? Blimey!

It is all very silly but worth getting through the spoof vox pop interviews on shirts at the beginning (mercifully quite short) of the track to iisten to the song itself…you can find it on YouTube. https://