Frank Cooper’s is one of the best known marmalade brands in Britain.
Frank Cooper (1844 – 1927), owned a grocery business on 83-84 High Street, Oxford, formerly the premises of the Angel Hotel. His wife Sarah (1848 – 1932) filled the first jars of Frank Cooper marmalade in 1874, using a recipe from her mother.
Sarah Cooper continued to produce the marmalade in the kitchen of the Angel Hotel, Oxford, until she entered into retirement in 1899. Production was relocated to a purpose-built factory on Park End Street, Oxford in 1901.
The business was registered as Frank Cooper Ltd in 1913. The company had a Royal Warrant from the King by 1914.
Sarah Cooper died in 1932. In an obituary the Yorkshire Post described her as the founder of the company.
Frank Cooper Ltd employed about 100 people by 1938.
Production of the marmalade was relocated to Botley Road, Oxford, in the former premises of an ice rink, in 1947.
Secret agent James Bond consumes Frank Cooper’s marmalade in From Russia With Love (1957) by Ian Fleming.
One quarter of the company’s capital of £350,000 was offered to the public in 1961, it’s first public offering.
An eleven acre site was acquired at Wantage to provide additional production capacity in 1963. Around 15 percent of production was exported overseas by 1964.
Frank Cooper Ltd was acquired by Brown & Polson for £866,250 in cash in 1964. The company cited increasing costs and a lack of capital as its motivation for agreeing to the takeover.
Brown & Polson was able to afford Frank Cooper’s range of five marmalades and eleven jams and jellies wider distribution.
Frank Cooper production was relocated to the Brown & Polson factory in Paisley, Scotland in 1967.
The company continued to operate the original Oxford shop, which latterly also functioned as a museum, until its closure in 1992.
Heinz acquired the Frank Cooper’s brand in 1997. By this time the product was manufactured at a site in Redditch, Worcestershire.
Frank Cooper’s was later acquired by Rank Hovis McDougall, a large British consumer foods group. RHM was acquired by Premier Foods in 2006. Premier sold its sweet spreads business to Hain Celestial in 2012.