Sketchley Park

June 29th, 2014, 8am

It was 13°C with few clouds. The breeze was light.

This tower marks the site of the infamous Sketchley Park, home for 70 years to the research lab that powered the extraordinary Sketchley’s dry-cleaning empire. The scientists lured to Sketchley Park during the 60s and 70s made this the English equivalent of Xerox Parc; ground-breaking, epoch-making science and philosophy emerged from here but focused on cleaning and stains rather than computing. The tower itself is a remnant of the technology that eventually bankrupted Sketchley’s - CCaaD (Cleaning Action at a Distance). The idea was reasonably simple - customers would subscribe to a service branded Dry Air Cleaning and would be given a number of special foil garment bags. Any item left in these bags overnight would be cleaned remotely from Sketchley Park via a process that Sketchley’s never really explained - though it was believed to involve a combination of microwave radiation and highly targeted lasers - garments cleaned with Dry Air Cleaning were known to get very hot. Sketchley Park could never get CCaaD to work reliably and accidentally killed quite a few pet fish. These setbacks and the simultaneous decline in high street cleaning forced Sketchley’s out of business in the 90s and scattered the Dry Air Cleaners to three of the four winds.

Adrian and Shu said thanks.

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Russell Davies

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