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Yardley of London

Classy soaps and cosmetics

The distinctive Art-Deco style Yardley factory on Carpenters Road still stands today, but it no longer produces and packages the range of high-quality soaps and toiletries that made the company famous. Yardley’s dates back to the 1770s, and by the 1880s they were exporting to international markets. They opened the factory here in 1905, and generations of local women worked there.

Surprisingly, the industrial processes for making cosmetics are rather smelly –  the principal ingredient is rendered animal fat or vegetable oil. The soaps don’t get their pleasant floral smells until the essential oils are added. So even with it's Royal Warrants for toiletries, Yardley’s was right at home in ‘smelly Stratford’ alongside the glue factories, chemical plants and paint works along the rivers.