In 2018 Blue Dragon’s Richard Orford won the Lifetime Achievement Award
Richard Orford, our current MD William’s father, joined the family business in 1958 which had laundry sites at Hillingdon in Middlesex and Beaconsfield in South Buckinghamshire.
He went to the USA and trained at the American Institute of Dry Cleaning, and on his return had special responsibility for the expansion of the dry cleaning business, opening a number of receiving shops on local high streets.
Richard was responsible for renaming the Companies Blue Dragon in the early 1960’s as the dry cleaning business expanded.During the 1960’s and 1970’s the Blue Dragon laundries were one of the first to use natural gas to power the boilers, and the introduced time and motion study to increase production and offer the staff an incentive bonus.
Appointed Managing Director of all the Companies in the early 1970’s, expanding the laundry side from all domestic into contract laundry, with the servicing of hotels, restaurants, residential colleges and industrial premises, alongside the domestic collection and delivery service. Introducing linen rental in the 1990’s.
The dry cleaning business was also expanded, with work coming from a variety of customers, both industrial and domestic, including costumes etc from the film industry at the nearby Pinewood Studios. Grew the Company from the beginning of the 1970’s by opening onsite dry cleaning unit shops in Beaconsfield New Town, Bourne End, Great Missenden, Gerrards Cross, Ickenham and Mill Hill.
A keen supporter of the Trade Associations, and sat on a number of committees of the Association of British Launderers and Cleaners, now the TSA.
Made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Launderers in1971, becoming the Master in 1997-1998.