Does anyone remember Scooples? They were an unusual product developed by Trebor in 1988 – a crispy wholegrain snack, shaped to scoop up a variety of fillings, to be eaten hot or cold. Aimed at the UK crispbread market, they were made by Trebor subsidiary The Lambourn Food Company in Newbury.
Several months ago Ivan Gibson got in touch with memories of Trebor’s involvement in the United States. Ivan left for the US in January 1966 as the firm’s first overseas placement. Previously he’d worked as a territory salesman for Sharps. Now he was to spend a year with Broadway Confections, Trebor’s partner in the country.
Prior to this, Trebor had enjoyed phenomenal success in America with Regal Crowns. Ian Marks remembered Chesterfield factory creaking under the pressure of making over a hundred tons a week of Regal Crown Sour Lemons for the US; more than 3,000 tons of this popular candy sold there altogether. This achievement was instrumental in Trebor winning in 1966 the Queen’s Award to Industry for exports.
Here’s a picture from a Chicago Trade Show in 1963. The Regal Crown promotion features an archetypal English gent – with bowler hat, pipe and umbrella – rowing a boat full of product. The caption above reads ‘Frightfully sorry we can’t meet the demand for Regal Crown Sour Fruits. We’re getting them here as fast as we can!’ Such promotions clearly worked. The success of Regal Crowns was instrumental in Trebor winning in 1966 the Queen’s Award to Industry for exports.
Later in 1966 we can see Ivan at Broadway Confections. He’s on the left beside Ben Schnapp, proprietor of Broadway Confections. On the right sits Martin Schnapp, Ben’s nephew who was the firm’s sales director.
Along with Ivan arrived new product from Britain. ‘The idea,’ says Ivan ‘was to introduce four Trebor 10 cent rolls on the back of the success achieved with Regal Crown.’ Here’s the arrival of the first two 20′ containers holding 65,000lbs of 10 cent rolls: the first sweets to arrive in the US in this way.
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.
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.
Women 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.
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 http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands/whats-on/family-events/weekend-fun/
Do come along.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.’