Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Welgar Shredded Wheat

Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by well-known brand names that could be seen on factories at the side of railway lines. It started with a big neon sign saying 'Weetabix' between Wellingborough and Kettering at Burton Latimer. Then of course there's Horlick's at Slough (a copy of their U.S. factory in Racine, Wisconsin) and the sadly empty Ovaltine factory at Kings Langley on the Euston line in Hertfordshire. A cut-out timber Ovaltine Dairy Maid could also be seen up on an embankment above the factory. Another household name apparently about to disappear from the railway sightlines is probably my favourite, Louis de Soisson's 1925 factory in Welwyn Garden City. A machine age, wipe-clean, eau-de-nil and white masterpiece just next to the station. I suspect the prospect of turning the whole thing into massively over-priced loft-style apartments is just too tempting; a brand that was once at the heart of one of the first garden cities exiled to a soulless industrial 'park' somewhere.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Ah the factorties we have seen and lost... I remember the unmitigatedly English selection on the line into London Bridge from New Cross Gate in South London: the paper bag factory (whatever happened to those?), Peak Freans biscuits (fragrant with chocolate on bourbon day), Sarson's Malt Vinegar, and the Turtle and Pierce flag loft just outside London Bridge Station, full of Dickensian figures sewing bits of fabric together to make union jacks.

Anonymous said...

Came to this post late but the Terry's factory in York is another loss: it was still working (and scenting the South Bank with chocolate fumes) when I pedalled past it most mornings in 1993/4.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my Father was the drummer boy on the Welgar Shredded Wheat packets. His mother Min Scott worked on the production line. There was a fancy dress competition. My Father came as a Drummer boy, he bought a drum with him and cried when it was taken away and replaced with a box of Welgar Shredded wheat! He won the compitition and ate Shredded Wheat every day which aided him living a happy and healthy life. Helen Scott-Williams ... Daughter