Sour grapes: Lipton’s jam

Lipton’s was one of many large preserves factories in Bermondsey. Others included Hartley’s, Pink’s and Lazenby’s (Crosse & Blackwell).

Thomas Lipton opened a jam factory at Rouel Road, Bermondsey, London in 1892.

Lipton had 200 shops through which he sold various grocery goods, including his jam, by 1898.

In 1899 the Sanitary Inspector found two tons of fruit that was “rotten, bad-smelling and in some cases maggoty” at Lipton’s factory. The Inspector said there was no doubt that Lipton’s had intended to use the fruit for jam-making.  Lipton received all of its fruit from contract growers, and was perfectly entitled to reject the fruit, but at the time, demand was high and supply was short. William Shaw Carmichael, secretary of Lipton’s, was fined £50.

The 1911 Bermondsey women’s strike won higher wages for the staff at Lipton’s factory.

There were over 550 Lipton shops throughout the United Kingdom by 1921.

An additional jam factory had been opened at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, in Britain’s fruit-growing heartland, by 1923.

200 workers at Rouel Road went on strike for one day as a protest against the employment of non-union labour in 1924.

The Home Secretary ordered Lipton’s to provide cloakrooms, mess rooms and washing facilities for its staff at Rouel Road in 1932.

The Lipton jam-making business was acquired by Allied Suppliers in 1934.

Allied Suppliers acquired T W Beach & Sons, preserve manufacturers, in 1941.

Rouel Road and Wisbech had a combined annual capacity of 13,000 tons by 1944.

The Rouel Road factory was demolished in March 1969. The site is now occupied by the Lucey Way housing estate.

T W Beach was acquired by Cavenham in 1972. Preserve manufacture was phased out in favour of soft drinks production, and T W Beach became a part of Britvic.

2 thoughts on “Sour grapes: Lipton’s jam”

  1. Hi
    As a former resident of Rouel Road
    I edit a page in Wiki on Rouel Road and its industrial heritage
    I would love to include a history of Liptons using a link to your page with obviously an acknowledgement . I used pass the factory on my way to school in the 1950s now in my 70s, I still remember the delightful aromas of Jam coming from the factory and as I lived actually next door to Pearce Duffs a few hundred yards up the road memories of wafts of custard powder smells.

    Unfortunately due to Wikipedia’s NO Follow Policy to external links many of my old JPG links now do not work .
    but I am at present switching over to a WordPress site

    1. Of course you can link to my page David. I also have a history of Pearce Duff on the site that you might be interested in.



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