Paul was a good looking Arab; he stood six feet tall and was always well dressed in a white shirt and black trousers. His shoes were highly polished as were his teeth that showed off a brilliant white smile. His eyes were dark and mesmerising.
“Hello Mr Malik; how are you today said Jenny hoping that he wouldn’t see the pink stained clothes going around in the washing machine next to him.’
Good afternoon Jennifer her replied. It is very hot for you today is it not?
“Yes it is.’
“Well I have brought you something from my mother to drink. It is some home made lemon and barley water. If you ask the owner of the shop next door he will add some ice for you. He is my cousin Amil.’
Thank you, Mr Malik I appreciate your kindness.’
“Please call me Paul; as all of my friends do.’
“Alright Paul; she smiled shyly at the young man before her.’
“I must go now, but I shall return later to take the money from the meters.’
Each wash cost seventy five pence and the driers ten pence for five minutes drying time. They sold small packets of washing powder and detergent. Paul refilled each one from the stock in the back of the shop.
Paul was born in England after his father like many immigrants in the late forties came over to England to settle here just after the Second World War. They came over on the MV Monte Rosa in 1948 along with many other immigrants. His father and mother lived in the poorest area of Liverpool where he found work working on the railway as a parcel handler. They managed to save enough money to come to Newcastle where he was helped to find a house near the church in Benwell. The Fellahin peasant worked very hard. He carried on working for British Rail until he saved up enough money to buy his first laundrette. He witnessed many poor Arab and Jewish families who lived in his community wash clothes by hand and it gave him an idea. If he could open a shop and install washing machines; people would come and do their laundry.
His first shop had six washing machines but the problem of drying the washing was still a concern so he asked his friend if he would design a large enough machine that would blow out hot air to dry the clothes. This worked and before long Mamood had made enough to open another shop.’
By the end of 1950 Mamood had several shops all bringing in a steady income. His son Paul was born and he made sure that he was well educated. He went to college to do business studies then did a degree. He did all of his father’s accounts and helped him expand the business further afield. They moved to North Shields in 1967 near Tynemouth infirmary on Hawkey’s lane where Mamood bought his first house.
He was welcomed by both of his neighbours who were both professional people.’
Paul took driving lessons and passed his test first time then bought a car so he could travel easily from shop to shop to collect the takings. He was nineteen years of age when his father allowed him complete control of the business. It was him who found his Uncle Malik a shop on the corner next to his laundrette. It made money because the people who came to the laundrette went to buy drinks and refreshments at the shop. The slots were added when the country changed to decimal currency in 1971. It was more cost effective for them to do this than charge a standard charge from everyone. Loads could be controlled as well. When they were over filled they broke down. Muhammad his uncle was good at fixing things and he would come after working at the shop to repair the machines. This saved them a lot of money because English plumber/ heating engineers charged them twenty pounds an hour.