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.