The Newton Abbot Sanitary Laundry Co had its premises in Newton Road had its origins in the early decades of the 20th century. It was founded by Mr Joseph George Clark who was Managing Director of the Newton Abbot and District Gas and Coke Co.  Mr Clark had followed his father Richard into the gas industry, his father at one time serving as the manager of the Devonport Gas Company.

Mr Clark moved to the area in 1884 to take up a position with the Newton Abbot Gas & Coke Company, which at that time was

 a small concern. Living at first in Gas Cottages, The Avenue, Newton Abbot, he later moved to Keyberry Road, Newton Abbot. In 1911 he became managing director of the company and designed and built a weekend retreat at Manaton known as Moorcrest.

A man of many parts and with an eye for a good business opportunity he built a steam laundry works on Tucketts Marsh, Kingsteignton around 1910. In 1917 the laundry building suffered a great fire. The building except the boiler house, engine room and parts of the ironing room was gutted. The explosions of glass quickly roused the attention of villagers who flocked to the scene to watch the Kingsteignton and Newton Fire brigades fight the flames. Nevertheless, the business recovered and prospered and its vans became a regular sight in the district.




photo courtesy of Miss A Beaufoy


THE BUILDING OF PENNS MOUNT (photo courtesy of Miss A Beaufoy)

The Hon Charles Clifford who owned the majority of the properties in Kingsteignton village, put most of them up for sale in 1923. Mr Clark had viewed with interest the green hill to the east of the village which commanded spectacular views of the Teign Estuary and Dartmoor and enquired as to whether this any of this land might be for sale. Following a positive response he duly purchased a plot and the surrounding pasture at the top of the hill. Plans were drawn up by Mr Clark and were passed in 1924 and the building was completed by 1925. Mr 

Clark named his new residence Penns Mount and sold off his other residences in Keyberry Road and Manaton. Many locals joked that from his new house Mr Clark could keep an eye on his workers at both the gasworks and the laundry!

 above interior view of machinery and right Mr Clark's car with Simes' Garage to the left (photos courtesy of Miss A Beaufoy)

A house, named Kingsway, was built for the manager beside the entrance to the site and in the 1939 Register we find a William Studd was living there. His occupation was given as “working laundry manager”. His daughter Gladys was also engaged by the laundry working as a “packer, sorter”. By 1939 Mr Clark, had retired and had handed over running the company to his daughter Alsie. Both were living at Penns Mount along with housekeeper Doris Northway. The company continued its operations until it finally closed in 1964 and for many years the building lay empty. 

Today along with the adjacent Simes Garage it forms part of the multiple outlet Kingsteignton Retail Park

 above photos of staff on the day of closure 1964 (photos courtesy of Miss A Beaufoy)