The IMCO Building

IMCO were a once large firm of dry cleaners who ran a central cleaning and dying plant on Merrion Road, which was supported by collection vans and feeder shops. Their building was built in two phases between the wars.

The design of the second phase, apparently dating from 1939, incorporated a fine concrete and glass tower by the distinguished English architect Oliver Percy Barnard. Always kept freshly painted, - doubtless external appearance was an important factor for a dry-cleaner, it made a very fine show on a lovely site along the seashore, easily visible from road and railway.

Imco exterior


The building was sold in 1974 and was demolished shortly afterwards, so that an office building could be built.

Some artefacts from the Strand Palace Hotel, London, where Oliver Barnard was part of the 1930 design team, are in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The stairwell is a centre piece of the art deco show running in 2003 at the V&A.


The economics of dry cleaning changed with the introduction of in-shop cleaning, using smaller machines, during the 1960's and soon the cream and maroon vans of IMCO were no more.

The late Kenneth Hudson in "The archaeology of the consumer society", London 1983, points out that the early history of dry cleaning is entirely undocumented by surviving machinery in public collections, nor is there an adequate history of dry cleaning available. An industrial process used by everybody has passed away almost unremarked.

Imco logoImco logo


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