Cory's Master Cleaners

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Cory's La Motte Street shop before it was demolished to make way for new Social Security offices

Cory's Master Cleaners was established in 1874 by Robert Cory at 30 La Motte Street and 38 Bath Street under the name R Cory's Yorkshire Steam Dyeworks.

In the Victorian era clothes were made from a wide variety of fragile natural materials - silks, satins, muslins, crepes, etc - which needed far more care in laundering and dyeing than today's synthetic fabrics. Robert Cory spent five years learning his trade as an apprentice before going into business on his own.

His business prospered and by 1897 he was advertising in the British Press and Times 'the largest and best equipped cleaning and dyeing works in the Channel Islands'. His advertisement continued: 'Cleaning is a speciality', and he offered to undertake dyeing in 'all art shades', adding 'Our black is unsurpassed'. Although the business did not operate in Guernsey, it offered to receive customers' orders at 22 Smith Street in St Peter Port.

Cory's was certainly among the most successful cleaners in Jersey and its delivery boys became a familiar sight on their bicycles throughout St Helier.

Robert Cory was determined to stay ahead of his competitors and introduced French cleaning - or dry cleaning, as it became known - to Jersey. He continued to supervise his business right up to his death at the age of 80 in 1931. The business continued to prosper as Cory's Master Cleaners after his death and the following year aFord 8 commercial van, the first to come to the island, was bought to replace the bicycle deliveries.

As with most island businesses, the German Occupation in the 1940s brought Cory's to a virtual standstill, but it recovered quickly after the war and expanded with a new workshop at the rear of 30 La Motte Street to handle new man-made fibres.

The 1970s saw a merger between Cory's and Angora Cleaners, with the establishment of a new joint factory in Kensington Place.

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