The History of Shortridge Ltd.
The company as it is today developed from the expansion of Cumbrian firm North West Laundries who, as they moved northwards, acquired the Dumfries based Shortridge. Following the opening of a depot in North Yorkshire, allowing the company to deliver to a wider area, the name North West no longer fit the bill so all three sites adopted the Shortridge name.
Despite the name change the company is still owned and managed by the same two families who started North West Laundries back in 1993. The expansion allowed the company to cover a wider area, required investment in stock and machinery, and created new jobs.
Both North West Laundries and the original Shortridge can be considered something of a success story in their respective local areas and by merging the two we hope to continue providing an exceptional level of quality and service throughout the north of England and southern Scotland.
North West Laundries
Originally based near Keswick in Cumbria, North West Laundries was founded in 1993. The company provided linen hire and laundry services to hotels and other local businesses throughout the Lakes.
The rapid growth of the company meant a new, larger site was soon needed and the move to Lillyhall Industrial Estate was completed in 1996. This was an ideal location for serving the rest of Cumbria and the company continued to expand moving to the current site at Lillyhall in 2000.
By 2005 North West Laundries supplied businesses throughout Cumbria and were nearing the border! The acquisition of Dumfries based Shortridge allowed them to cover a wider area and move into Scotland. In 2008 a depot was opened in Thirsk allowing the company to cover more of the North East and North Yorkshire.
Following this expansion the name North West was no longer appropriate and the official name change and re-branding took place in early 2008 resulting in the new look Shortridge!
The business, originally a cleaners and dyers serving households throughout Dumfries, was founded by Thomas Shortridge in 1845. Interestingly Thomas had only recently returned to the area after learning his trade in Whitehaven, a small town just a few miles from the current Shortridge head office at Lillyhall Industrial Estate in Cumbria!
Over the years the business grew, moving first to a new site on Dumfries High Street in 1852 and then to the Stakeford site in 1876 where they remained for many years. The water from a nearby loch was found to be ideal for dying and a direct supply was arranged. The business remained in family ownership until 1947 when Thomas Shortridge's grandson John retired. Mr Aikman Smith took over and the company continued to go from strength to strength. Newspaper clippings kept by a helpful employee of the time show that the business continued to expand throughout the South West of Scotland and even began catering for the stars of stage and screen in London. Throughout the 1940's Anne Crawford, Sheila Sim, Richard Attenborough, Ann Ziegler, and Jean Simmons all appeared in newspaper adverts for the firm.
In 1970 the company began supplying the hospitality market, providing linen hire and laundry services for hotels. This venture was successful for many years and the company catered for business throughout South West Scotland. Mr Aikman-Smiths death in 1989 brought an end to more than 40 years of dedicated leadership and a local consortium bought the company in 1990. They continued to run the company until 2005 when North West Laundries took over. In 2008 North West Laundries named all three of their sites Shortridge Ltd. and re-branding took place resulting in the Shortridge everyone knows today!