Chesterfield retirement pictures

Darren Taylor’s got back in touch with some more retirement pictures from Chesterfield. His mum Doreen Taylor (nee Saxton) has filled in as many names as she can. Can you add any?

First up is the retirement of Ann Powell in the early to mid 1970s.

Retirement An nPowell reduced Front row from left: June Chapman, Marie ?, Brenda Bramley, June East, unknown, unknown, Bill Reid, Ann Powell, unknown, Doreen Taylor, Marion Straw, Jack Straw, Val Wilbraham, Gwen Horton, unknown.

Back row: Pat ?, Margaret Furness, unknown, unknown, Chris Nuttall, Margaret ?, Marion ?, Pat Harrison, unknown.

Next is when Doreen’s best friend Shirley Johnson retired in 1994.

Shirley Johnston retirement reducedWomen from left: Diane?, Mandy?, Jill Gascoyne, Denise Fletcher, Ann Slater, Diane?, Shirley Johnson, Jannete Scattergood, Mona Freeman, Doreen Taylor, Pat Harrison, June Chapman, Rita Armstrong, Vicky Weston and Rita Soar.

Men from left: Mike Parkin, Andrew Cummings, Richard Tudsbury, unknown, Steve Collins, Norman ?, John Dicker, unknown.

Doreen also found an old Working Together from November 1960 – the year she started her 45 year career with the company. It included this retirement notice of Cave Gladwin, who joined Trebor when the Chesterfield factory was set up in 1942 during the war.

Cave retires reduced

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Sweets during World War One – this Saturday

If you live near London and your young ‘uns might be interested in finding out about the book Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo – and life in London during World War 1 – then come along to the Museum of London Docklands this Saturday 5th April.

The Cityread Family Day features screenings of a film about the book as well as lots of fun things to do, such as creating comics, watching Punch and Judy, singing Music Hall, writing letters from the trenches, farmyard fun and….

… me talking about sweets during World War One. I’m part of an event there called Humbugs and Peace Babies, where children can colour sweet bags then visit a pop-up vintage sweet shop and order a quarter of free sweets. And if free sweets aren’t an incentive, I don’t know what could be.

If you’ve not visited this lovely museum, which is near Canary Wharf, then this is a good reason to come along. You’ll find more details of the event at the Museum of London Docklands website, at

Do come along.

Trebor Army & Navy Tablets 1917


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Christmas at Chesterfield

Darren Taylor’s got in touch with some great Christmas party photos from Chesterfield. He knows some of the names, but do let us know if you recognise anyone else – or even yourself.

Chesterfield Xmas Lunch c1956

Chesterfield Xmas Lunch c1956

The first picture features the party in, he thinks, 1956. In the back line of women on the left, five women up from the left, sits his auntie Dot Foukes with her chin in her hand. The far woman in that row, next to a chap, is his auntie Beryl Robinson (nee Saxton).

Other people there include Joe Kersey, Bernard Cousins, Ralph Hodgekins?, Ted Wainwright, Dennis Makepeace, Mary Unwin, Kath Oxley, Beryl Saxton, Dorothy Saxton, Ila Styles, Gwen Barton, Maureen Longdon, Val Garner, Muriel Palmer, Margaret Jenkins, Shirley Pointon, Kath? and Wendy?

Chesterfield Xmas Dinner Early 1960s

Chesterfield Xmas Dinner Early 1960s

Next up is the Christmas party around 1962. The first woman on the right, with black hair and leaning forward smiling, is his mum Doreen Taylor (nee Saxton). Other people include Jack Hollindale, Nora Hayes, Margaret Harrison, Maureen Greaves, Thelma Pollard and Margaret Broadbent.

Chesterfield Xmas Dinner 1980s

Chesterfield Xmas Dinner 1980s

Finally, here’s Chesterfield Christmas from the early 1980s. From left to right you can see Ellen Varley, Marion Straw (in glasses), his mum Doreen Taylor, Shirley Johnson, Diane Trowel, Margaret Jenkins, Pat? and June Chapman.

Thanks so much for sending us these pictures, Darren and Doreen. We’re always happy to share such memories, so if you’ve got pictures of your own, do send them in.




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Clarnico history

Shirley Jennings got in touch from New Zealand to say her mother Elizabeth Sowervold worked for Clarnico before emigrating to New Zealand in 1921. Her mother was born in Stratford in 1901.

It’s unlikely, perhaps impossible, that anyone still alive will have worked alongside Elizabeth at Clarnico during that period after the first world war. But we’re always interested to hear more about that Hackney Wick firm. Last spring we were contacted by Geoff Nickolls, also from West Ham, who thought he might be related to the Nickolls who co-founded Clarnico and provided half its name. It transpired he wasn’t, but he found there is a large Clarnico archive at the London Metropolitan Archives.

If only there was time to write a history of Clarnico. Whenever I take the London Overground train from Gospel Oak, where I live, over to Stratford, I pass within yards of the old Clarnico site by the River Lee Navigation at Hackney Wick. Now it’s largely buried by the residue of the Olympic Park, but there’s still one old building which I fancy must have formed part of the old Clarnico empire. (See picture at the bottom)

Back in 1893, over 1,500 people worked for Clarnico, of whom 1,300 were women. It was a major corporation long before the Trebor founders started peddling their boilings round Forest Gate in 1907.

Clarnico's many employees seen leaving work in 1908.

Clarnico’s many employees seen leaving work in 1908.

In 1900 the Daily Telegraph reported on The Jam Girl (a typical Clarnico worker) who loved liberty and would rather live and eat simply, albeit precariously, rather than go into domestic service with its abundant food and comfortable lodgings – but servitude.

By 1903 Clarnico boasted a 100-strong choral society, a fire brigade and a 70-strong brass band which toured France and Italy. There was also a boys’ bugle, drum and fife band, and an ambulance team. Those were the days when your work provided much of your social life. For all the hardship, there must have been a lot of fun.

Later the firm went into decline, not helped by being bombed out during the war and then building a new factory in 1951 that became obsolete soon after it was finished. Trebor bought the firm in 1969 for £900,000. Today Hackney Wick has become a fashionable enclave, an island of designers and artists and water-side apartments with rapidly rising rents.

As I say, it would be lovely to write a history of Clarnico – to explore the life of those free-spirited Jam Girls of 1900. Sadly such work would never pay, and I’ve spent my time on Trebor. But if anyone else is interested in the task, I’d be delighted to help as I can.

Clarnico 1921 from above Reduced

Here’s a 1921 overhead picture of the Clarnico site. To the left is Hackney Wick. The railway runs across the middle of those three bridges in the centre. Carpenter’s Road ran over the nearer roadbridge. The road’s since disappeared as part of the Olympic Park which now covers the land to the right of the river. But the bridge is still there and so is the Clarnico-marked building beside it on the right, eastern bank between the railway and road. It’s now offices – and the only remains of that once great confectionery empire.




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John Reeves’ memories of Maynards

Thanks John for getting in touch about working for Maynards.

This is John Reeves and I was Export Manager at Maynards in 1984. I used to meet Terry Spurling at the quarterly CCCA meetings in London and on a few occasions he asked if I would like to work at Trebor. I told him he could not afford me! The day Trebor purchased Maynards Terry called me and said, when can you start?

I was based on the top floor at Woodford and was responsible for the Republic of Ireland exports and some European markets. I remember my first visit to Chesterfield in 1985 because while walking around the factory the sole of my shoe stuck to the floor in the boilings room and came off. I hobbled around for the rest of the tour but by the afternoon one of the staff handed me my shoe repaired.

I enjoyed my time in Trebor working under Terry and loved the informality of the top management, almost like family, with lunch sitting next to one of the Marks brothers, David Kappler and later John Sunderland. The “can do” attitude enabled great success in the four years I was there. The saddest event was having to stop making Killarney Caramels in Dublin because they were proud factory workers. When Cadbury took over Trebor, like many others I went into see Terry about the incredibly generous gesture Ian and John had made to give back some of the sales proceeds to the staff. With only four years service I only glimpsed at the letter, but Terry said look again and I realized some of the zeros were in front of the decimal point!

I moved to Cadbury in Bournville and after another 18 years retired in West Palm Beach Florida in 2007, and became a US citizen 6 months ago. I now run my own Candy Brokerage company from home supplying lines to the Caribbean. Your book brought back all the memories and on this day of Thanksgiving made me realize what an honour and pleasure it was to work with the Woodford Trebor Team.

Here’s the 1982 Maynards product range:



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Meeting Nelly Antoine in Plaistow

What a delightful surprise yesterday. I went along to a meeting of elderly folk in Plaistow, East London, some of whom have difficulty with their short term memories. I was there to talk about Trebor. On walking into the room, I was introduced to Nelly Antoine, who worked for the firm for 25 years. I recognised her immediately. She appears on page 114 of the book in a photo of six long-serving staff from Forest Gate factory. Between them they’d served one hundred and ninety six years with Trebor.

Nelly herself joined in 1956 soon after arriving from Jamaica. Now 89, she still lives in Forest Gate and often walks past the old factory building. She’s very sharp, remembering all the other women in the picture, and she gave the group a brilliant description of how to make sweets. It was lovely to meet her and find out more about the old days. You can see photos below of her yesterday and back in 1983.

Little surprise, people like to talk about sweets. And those with some dementia are happy to remember what treats they liked when they were young – and the sweet shops they would visit. With the group we also went through the pictures of celebrity endorsements in the book, to see who recognised whom. No problems there. Thankyou to Rose Pearson of the Alzheimers Society who’d organised the event.

Nelly at the meeting in Plaistow Friday 15th November 2013

Nelly at the meeting in Plaistow Friday 15th November 2013

Six of Forest Gate's longest serving staff in the canteen at the closing party in January 1983. Nelly Antoine's at the back on the right.

Six of Forest Gate’s longest serving staff in the canteen at the closing party in January 1983. Nelly Antoine’s at the back on the right.


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1973 Moffat Sales Beano

Heading off to Alicante for a sales beano was a highly regarded date in the Moffat calendar. Here’s an account of one such trip from Working Together magazine in Spring 1973. Do any readers remember joining that jaunt?



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Old Treborites getting in touch

Several old Treborites have been in touch recently. Here’s what a couple of them wrote:

‘My name is Steve Martin and I worked for Trebor (Moffat) until the wholesale division was sold to Palmer and Harvey. I won several ‘Travel with Trebor’ competitions and was GMA Salesman of the Year in 1984. I was mostly based at the Thamesmead Depot, but did work from Hubert Road Brentwood when it was Moffat Head Office, and operated as a Regional Field manager from the Dunstable office when Hoddesdon moved there. I have some fantastic memories of Trebor, including Ian Marks running a stress management course in Malvern.’

And from Chris North:

‘I have just come across your website after searching for Trebor sweets. Wow, what fond memories I had working for the company at Heathfield Way, Kingsheath, Northampton. This was a distribution centre where I worked my way up to assistant warehouse manager and was employed there from 1980 to 1989 before sadly I was made redundant after moving the business down to Dunstable in Beds. My father also worked for Trebor in Northampton; Stan North who has now sadly passed away. He was a sales rep who worked his way up to area sales manager and served over 25 years with the company. I still have my Fathers gold watch he received for long service. I would love a copy of this book, it really has brought a tear to my eye just thinking of the good times we had working for Trebor. What a great family business it was.’

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Lovely film about sweet rationing

The BBC website has just posted a short film about sweet rationing – and rationing in general – during and after world war two. It’s to support an exhibition opening at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.

They interview Roy Willett, whose family has run Willetts Sweets in Chesterfield since 1927. And I’m embarrassed to say I never knew this other sweet firm operated in the town. It only supplies trade, but they use traditional old methods which you can see in the film. Their website is at

Seems like an opportune time to show some of the old Trebor rationing ads from the gallery:

PromBarleySugar2A PackKiddiesRationBarA Low Res PackFrolliesWrapperA PackBoleynTinyTotsA Low res PackExtraStrongMintsWartime1A Low Res




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Derek Spencer from Forest Gate

Derek Spencer’s got in touch with lots of memories of working for Trebor at Forest Gate and then setting up his own business working with the firm. Do pass word of this on to anyone who might remember him and the people he talks about.

Hello my name is Derek Spencer. I started working for Trebor at Forest Gate in July 1965 straight from school. I was a trainee sugar boiler and worked at every job in the factory. My Dad – also called Derek – had worked as a lorry driver for WS Gentry collecting mints and export shipping and running over to the new Woodford factory and then back to Forest Gate; two loads a day for over five years. As a lad I used to travel with him during the school holidays and got to know lots of folk in both factories.

I worked in No 1 boiling room on machine LV1 and the SR cookers, with Len Miller, Freddy Young, Arthur known as the Chocolate King, Steve Stevenson and Charlie Starling. In the stores I worked with Johnny Leightin – a great big man who made lifting two hundredweight sacks of sugar look easy. Oggy was on the security door. In the bottle wash Charlie Green was foreman. Neil Christie was assistant factory manager and would give out the daily jobs, Mr Slim was chief engineer, and Mr Broome was factory manager.

I worked at Forest Gate for two years, left and then returned in Feb 1972 back to No 1 boiling room. I remember working with Steve Berry in No 3 on the Glitter Fruit Line and the pulling hooks. I went on to work on the new blow moulding jar plant and then put in for a transfer to become a salesman. After an interview at Trebor House with Mike Hodgings I became a merchandiser, working around the country covering for holiday relief and various sales campaigns. I was involved with the launch of Swisskit and worked on the Finlay’s account, getting orders from the little tobacco kiosks on underground train platforms all around London.

Again I left the company and started my own business in transport. My big break came when I asked the transport office if they had any work for me and my van. They asked me to take some shop fittings to a hotel in Leeds. I jumped at the job, which turned out to be the launch of PickNmix. At the hotel I met lots of old faces from sales, including Lou Beazley and Neil Fozzard. I then worked delivering and fitting up display stands in supermarkets throughout the UK.

My business grew with Trebor being my main customer and I went on to have five vans working on PickNmix installations for many years. One night I was phoned by a senior manager and was asked to take some displays to somewhere in the City of London in strict confidence. Getting there at 4am, I set up the display, filled it with sweets and then noticed posters with Cadbury on them. That day turned out to be the presentation of the Trebor business for sale to Cadbury. I contracted for Cadbury for several more years but the great days of “Working Together” had gone. The old Let’s Get It Done spirit was not there anymore.

I had the sad job of being involved in moving the plant and machines from Forest Gate factory. Watching the plant closure was like losing an old friend. Trebor was a big part of my commercial life and I will always be proud to have worked with them, they gave me the opportunity to learn lots of skills and develop myself. I enjoy your Blog and I hope my input may bring back memories for those I worked with over the Years.

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