READERS may recall the photograph which we published a few weeks ago relating to an old vehicle and cottage

near Evesham.

Despite numerous e-mails and telephone calls from interested readers suggesting possible locations, the photograph remains a mystery.

However, I still intend to get to the bottom of this puzzle and I will keep everyone posted on my progress.

Fortunately, something positive has resulted from my hours of fruitless searching because on the way back to Worcester recently I noticed a sign up for the Malvern Flea Market.

It's like a magnet. Before I knew where I was the car was heading for Malvern.

I joined the hundreds of bargain hunters and while whizzing around the stands I spotted the two superb old advertisements pictured here.

Both items relate to the Metropole Laundry. Some of our more senior readers will know the old laundry very well. It was situated near the Old Powick bridge - the scene of one of the major clashes of the English Civil War.

The actual building, which stills stands, was formerly the old electricity generating works, opened in the latter part of the 19th Century.

In recent years, the building has been converted into luxury apartments and it was probably then that the two advertisements were unearthed.

Judging by the telephone number - Powick 13 - they must date back to the early 1920s.

I think the cut-out figure of the young lady in her delivery uniform is quite delightful. She wears the Metropole Laundry monogram on her tunic and cap and holds a sign proclaiming that blankets can now be laundered for one shilling.

The image is actually hand-painted onto plywood - a far cry from today's computer-generated, laser-printed wizardry.

Many local people were employed at the laundry during its heyday until it closed in 1971. Among them were sisters Dora and Eileen Walker, from St John's, Worcester.

Now in their late 70s, Dora and Eileen started work there as young teenagers. They earned around eight shillings and twopence for a five-and-a-half-day week, but three hours' overtime could bring in an extra sixpence.

Eileen recalls that laundry came in from numerous local hotels, including The Abbey at Malvern, The County Hotel and many private houses.

Also, because it was wartime, the Metropole was doing a roaring trade with the American base at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

Because of its close proximity to the Teme, the laundry was prone to flooding. Dora chuckles as she remembers workers being ferried in by horse and dray borrowed from Bennetts Dairies across the road. Often the water was lapping around the horse's stomach.

Despite the heavy work, wartime blackouts and a sign above the factory clock which proclaimed "clock watchers are time wasters" Dora and Eileen recall their days at the Metropole as happy days.

They were certainly overjoyed to see the two old momentoes of their early working life.