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Textile Rental & Commercial Laundry Services
The History of
Mersey Towel Service Ltd
William Arthur Hooker

Mersey Towel Service was started in 1934 by William Arthur Hooker after he had been made redundant from the naval Architects Department of the White Star Line; he began in business with the princely sum of £100.

The new company provided a towel hire service to the many offices and factories based in Liverpool.

At first the firm was based at 4 Rumford Place in the city centre and employed just one delivery boy who used a bicycle to take the towels to offices around the city.


Though the company owned the towels, it contracted out the actual washing to one of the many small laundries located in the city at that time - though tea towels and dusters were taken home to be washed by William's wife Jessica. Increased contact with factories soon led William to start offering to wash workers' overalls too.

William and Jessica's son Norman Hooker, joined the company straight from school in 1942 and worked for his father until being called up. When Norman returned he rejoined the comp nay and help build up the business. Bicycles would now become a thing of the past and the first delivery van in the, now traditional, dark red livery was bought soon after Norman's return.


Business increased steadily and in 1954 it was decided it was more economic to wash the towels in-house than to contract out. A separate laundry company was soon started, the Mersey Towel Service (Laundry) Ltd based at 16/18 Whiteford Street L6, although at this time an office was still maintained at Rumford Place. The business however continued to expand until the laundry in Whiteford Street reached full capacity.

MTS production area circa 1970

A decision was made to move to even larger premises, and on 9th August 1961 MTS (Laundry) Ltd bought the long established Birchfield Laundry at 1-3 Birchfield Road L7 in the Stonycroft area of the city - premises where MTS is still based. As a result of acquiring the Birchfield Road laundry MTS now left both Rumford Place and Whiteford Street.

Times were changing. During the 1960s the now familiar Cabinet Roller Towel was introduced, an item of washroom furniture which is still a major sector in the industry. Meanwhile back at the laundry technology was moving on too: the firm had previously used washing machines and then had to transfer items into 'hydros' or spin - dryers to the man or woman in the street.

Norman Hooker

Things had to change some time, though two of the older washing machines had brass inner drums built to last and were still in use 40 years after their manufacture.

Eventually however combined washer - extractors would come into use making washing and drying towels a much more efficient process.But the business was by now not only supplying and washing towels. For example the contract washing and rental of table linen in many sizes and colours started in the 1960s.


Over the ensuing years the introduction of artificial fibres into the fabrics would bring even more colours, less shrinkage, better colour retention and easier processing.

Nor was table linen to be the end. More recently dust control mats of many sizes and colours along with Logo mats used to promote corporate identity and image have been introduced.

Norman Hooker died in 1996 after having semi-retired; Giles Hooker the third generation of his family to run the company joined in 1986.

Giles Hooker,
current Managing Director
The companies Birchfield Road premises in the 1970s

The area now covered by the business extends out from Merseyside to South Lancashire, St Helens, Runcorn and the Wirral - the firm has certainly come a long way from the time when it could operate with one man and a boy with a bike!

Mersey Towel Service Ltd
tel: 0151 521 8844 - fax: 0151 521 8855
or email: sales@merseytowelservice.co.uk

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