The central feature on the shield is a representation of a mechanical washing machine, invented in 1782 by Henry Sidgier of London. It operated on a rotary principle which set a trend for successive machines for the next two hundred years. Surrounding Sidgier’s machine on the shield are three antique flat irons.
On the crest sits a domestic cat, the cleanest of all animals. Surrounding it are lilies and sunflowers, symbols of purity, warmth and brightness.
The right hand or dexter, supporter of the shield commemorates a royal laundress, Princess Nausicaa. The sixth book of Homer’s Odyssey recounts how the Princess and her maidens are surprised by the shipwrecked Odyssseus as they are washing the linen of the Royal household on the beach.
The sinister, or left-hand supporter is an eighteenth century laundrywoman of humbler origins. She carries a dolly which, with the tub, was long considered the only apparatus necessary for washing clothes. A progression from beating cloth in running water.
The motto, Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, comes originally from the Talmud, the ancient book of Jewish law and doctrines. It became widespread in England after its adoption by John Wesley for use in his sermons.