From Docks to Desktops

From Docks to Desktops is an oral history project exploring the subject of work and how changes to work affect a community. The project will look at how the area has changed since the closure of the Surrey Commercial Docks and related industries. The project will also look more closely at how changes in employment have affected community life, friendships and health. The stories and research will be gathered into a new show to be performed in November 2013.

Click HERE to find out more about the forthcoming performances.

Contact Claire Sexton claire@londonbubble.org.uk for more information or click here for more details about the project

From Docks to Desktops is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

About the Project

A corner of South East London along the River Thames was integral to London’s position in world trade.  The Surrey Commercial Docks Company imported cargo from around the world to timber, spices, tea, sugar, meat to name a few. The company’s 10 docks covered 372 acres and were made up of wharfs and warehouses. Surrey Commercial Dock’s was a thriving company and a substantial employer for Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Deptford. However by December 1970 Surrey Commercial Docks was closed and in 1977 sold to Southwark Council. By 1979 the once thriving dock was undergoing construction of a new housing development. In 2013 where once stood cranes stands Surrey Quays shopping Centre.

Our exploration into the project has accumlated in interviews found here https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/research-and-performance/ a gallery https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/gallery/ and  interesting blog entries from people involved with From Docks to Desktops https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/blog/from-docks-to-desktops-the-beginnings/.

These stories have now been developed into a script and our intergenerational community cast are currently rehearsing a full length play for performances this November.  Click HERE to find out more about the performances.

From Docks to Desktops is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

How to get Involved

From Docks to Desktops is exploring the subject of work and how changes to work affect a community. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is utilising oral history to source material for a new show in summer 2013.
To enable the project’s success Bubble is looking for volunteers to join them in the process of shaping a community performance. There are various ways to be involved:

  • Interviewing
  • Transcribing
  • Research
  • Performance

If you would like to know more about the project please contact Claire on 0207 237 4434 or claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Stories

Here is where you can find all the stories we have collected. You can read, listen or watch interviews and meet the storytellers, gatherers and transcribers. If you have or know someone who has a story to tell please contact us.

John's Story

In this interview, John speaks of working at Hays Wharf as an apprentice engineer, the smells, activities and goings on of dock life. John tells stories of the girls working in the bond where whiskey, port and gin were kept and the ladies filled babies’ water bottles with spirits and hid them down their girdles. John also tells of working for the post office in the Borough as a charge hand.

Read John’s Story 

Helen's Story

In this interview Helen remembers getting her first job at R-White’s lemonade factory at the age of 15, typing shorthand at a speed of 100wpm, working as a personal secretary, being a fan of Alan Ladd, visiting the Queen, and horse-riding.

Betty's Story

In this interview Betty talks about working at Meantmore’s, listening to Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Young, buying a new suit from Alexandra’s, Christmas jobs in Woolworths and working at British Gas.

Read Betty’s story

Len Dawes Story

Len Dawes was a Stevedore in Surrey Commercial Docks and owned a shop in the “Blue” on Southwark Park Road.

Read Len’s Interview

Pat Jenkin's Story

In this interview, Pat talks about working from the age of fifteen on the switchboard, as a counter clerk at the Post Office, and as an accountant for factories such as Allards’ Suppliers and Wilkinson’s Containers, as well as at the fish market.

Read Pat’s Story

Maureen's Story

In this interview, Maureen tells many fun, sometimes shocking stories. She speaks of work ranging from being a relief orderly at St. Thomas’ Hospital, being a researcher in Harvard Library, to selling handbags in Harrods, using books before there were computers, and becoming a teacher. She also talks about having been to art college.

Read Maureen’s Story

Dave's Story

In this interview, Dave talks about his experiences of teaching evening classes at Brixton Prison and at Scott Lidgett School, becoming Head of Year and then eventually Head Teacher. He talks about teaching wood and metalwork, from children learning to make wooden boats to how to make their own coffee tables to take home with them. He reflects upon the importance of ‘people skills’ and the satisfaction of seeing children ‘making progress’. Dave also tells us about being part of a choir, a football coach and member of the union, N.U.T.

Read Dave’s Story

Patrick's Story

In this interview Patrick talks about working at Bermondsey Library in its old Salvation Army building and then moving to the new Rotherhithe Library in Albion Street. Patrick speaks of the high hopes Southwark Council had for the new library and his memories of working there as the Children’s Librarian.

Linda's Story

In this interview, Linda talks about her first job at 15 years old as a dyer stamper, and then working on a conveyor belt and with book binding at Charles Lett and Novellos. She speaks of being involved in the Union. She also remembers working with her sister at Smith and Young’s, as well as doing other work from Dewhurst, making pies and sausages, cleaning phones for Phonatas at the Elephant Castle, and working at an ice-cream factory. She also talks about working with London Transport and ‘tile bashing’, and later working with her husband, Bob, at Headquarters and General Supplies.

Read Linda’s Story

Mary's Story

In this interview Mary tells her amazing story about being evacuated from London during the WW2 and balancing different jobs whilst bringing up her three children. From clerical work to working in a factory, to helping her husband with his coal mining business and finally to owning a sweet shop.

Read Mary’s Story

Patrick Doyle's Story

In this interview Patrick gives an insight into the life of an apprentice engineer. He speaks of training  at Mills and Knight Wharf in Rotherhithe and competitions with the carpenter apprentices. He gives his views on the shipping industry and describes the piece of equipment he made for hospitals.

Read Patrick’s Story

Dorothy's Story

Dorothy worked in Molins, a factory located in Deptford on Trundleys Road. During the interview Dorothy recalls working at Molins as a secretary, organising staff beano’s and visiting the companies sports club. Dorothy speaks of her love for her job and how she felt when the company moved, making her redundant.

Read Dorothy’s Story

David's Story

In this interview David describes working for Masters, a company which made surgical shoes, and at Roehampton making surgical limbs. David describes how changes in technology affected the making process, how changes in materials affected the finish product and subsequently how that affected the experience of the amputees.

Read David’s Story

Irene's Story

In this interview Irene looks back at working at the biscuit factory Peek Freans for 44 years, getting evacuated twice as a child, winning a trade scholarship, working on a comptometer, as well as going out with friends to dances, and the pictures and get-togethers at the film studios near St. Mary’s Church.

Read Irene’s Story

Dave's Story

In this interview, Dave talks of working at the wine warehouse at London Bridge, trying the wine and becoming a carpenter’s apprentice. Dave tells stories of building the tower at Guys Hospital and the feeling of pride he feels when seeing it today. Towards the end of the interview, Dave talks of working for Southwark Council and at various companies building housing and converting warehouses after the docks were closed and filled in.

Read Dave’s Story

Anonymous 2

During the interview, the interviewee talks about working as an office clerk on the docks and for P and O, where she was in charge of shipping paperwork for each dock a ship would port into. The interviewee tells of volunteer work with the police, Dulwich Helpline and Time and Talents. She also talks about living conditions in Bermondsey during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and remembers having electricity in her home for the first time.

Read this story

Ada's Story

Ada was born on the 30th October. She is from Rotherhithe and lived in Surrey Docks during the war, working in various jobs in factories– producing biscuits, aeroplane parts in an engineering factory, lampshades and custard for different companies. When her husband returned from the war she had two children, worked in other factories, then at a cleaning company and finally as a cook in a kitchen. She also plays the piano, and in her later years went to perform in a range of places, from pubs to hospitals with her husband and others, and entertain audiences of people.

Read Ada’s Story

Len Hatch's Story

Len Hatch worked in the Docks for 34 years. During his employment, he witnessed changes to the employment of dockers, machinery and containerisation. Len describes the cargo he handled and how each wharf had their speciality.

Read Len’s Story

Mick's Story

In this interview Mick speaks of working for Chiswick Work on HGV vehicles, remembering a TA Army vehicle he was in charge of fixing and test-driving 35 miles. Subsequently, Mick drove the vehicle to his estate where the local children enjoyed a ride on the back. Mick also talks of his time as a shop steward at Southwark Council and how he “kicked arse”.

Read Mick’s Story

Pat Millington's Story

In this interview Pat speaks of working on the rigs in Sheerness, running his own business and moving to London after being diagnosed with glaucoma. Pat continued working in a factory in Verney Road for blind and visually impaired people. While at the factory Pat held the position of manager.

Read Pat’s Story

Sylvie's Story

Sylvie once worked at Peak Freens with her Mum, and at Norman’s box and bag factory with 2 sister-in-laws and a brother. Sylvie reflects on the closure of the docks and her time working for Southwark Council.

Read Sylvie’s Story

Heather's Story

In this interview, Heather Walker talks about her life as a writer. She talks about the difficulties and pleasures of giving advice as an Agony Aunt for nearly twenty years, office politics, a brief employment as a laboratory employee in breweries in New Zealand and in England, and finding life in her own work as an author after formal employment

Read Heather’s Story

Lee and Margaret's Story

Lee and Margaret speak about their work in the printing industry, working for the same company at different times. Margaret speaks of having many jobs throughout her working life, in particular at Adastra, a sewing factory at Tower Bridge Road. Lee remembers first needing a CV in 1992 and reflects on her current work in a hospital.

Read Lee and Margaret’s interview

Joan, June, Doug and Bert's Story

Married couples Bert and Joan Drane and Doug and June Wainwright all discuss their vibrant life in work. This multi-voiced  interview covers everything from Doug and Bert working on the docks, June sneakily reading newspapers on her paper route as a girl, and Joan’s professional life working for the Council.

Read their story

Hazel's Story

Hazel was born in 1919 and trained as a nurse at the age of 21. During her nursing, Hazel worked as a district nurse and in Africa with the The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Hazel spent 14 years as a nurse in Africa practicing as a midwife and general practice.

Read Hazel’s Story

Brenda Watkinson's Story

Vanessa Dowling's Story

John Bryan's Story

In this interview, John speaks about working as an apprentice at Hay’s Wharf in the years just before its closure. He shares many interesting stories about social life as well as working life on the docks, complete with anecdotes about sneaking onto ships to eat tinned pineapple as a child, watching his first international football game between Russian and Swedish seamen in Southwark Park, and an old ginger tom cat who got drunk on drips of wine and ended up on a boat to Poland.

Read John’s Interview

Anonymous 1's Story

This interviewee works at Cross and Blackwell’s in the hot rooms stacking tins of produce. She also worked for Pearce and Duffs, and for her war-work was a park keeper for Southwark Park. During this time, she maintained the flowerbeds and grew vegetables and fruit in the park’s nursery for St. Olav’s Hospital.

Read the story

Ida Paul's Story

Ida lived in St Lucia growing up on her grandparents farm. At the age of 23 Ida moved to England, her first home was in Bermondsey and she has lived there ever since. During Ida’s working life she has worked at Peak Freans Biscuit Factory and as a seamstress for a company in Tower Bridge Road.

Read Ida’s Story

Izzet's Story

Izzet moved to Rotherhithe from Cyprus in the early 80’s. During his interview Izzet tells of working on his family farm in Cyprus  the role of his father in their village and working as a chef for the British Armed Forces. After moving to England Izzet tells of working in as Chef in the Tower Hotel and  seeing the docks for the first time.

Read Izzet’s story

Stephen William's Story

Stephen trained as a factory inspector in Southwark in 1977. During his trainee years Stephen visited small factories located in railway arches around local stations. During this interview Stephen talks of the Health and Safety Work Act that became law in 1975, his role educating factory owners and workers in relation to the new legislation and HSC’s role today in modern work places and society.

It is to be noted Stephen participated in this interview as a friend of Bubble’s and not in his role at the HSC.

Read Stephen’s interview

Frank Long's Story

Frank worked for the police force for 30 years, spending 10 years as a Sergeant at Rotherhithe Police Station Lower Road. During this interview Frank recalls his time in Rotherhithe, his relationships with the PC’s and the rules the police force had to obey.

Read Frank’s story

Barry Albin Dyer's Story

Barry’s family have been conducting funerals in the Rotherhithe and Bermondsey area for over 200 years. During this interview Barry tells of helping his grandfather from the age of seven polishing buttons, conducting his first funeral and victorian superstitions that play a role in todays funerals.

Read Barry’s Story

Jane Jeffery's Story

Jane left school at 15 to train as a Waterman and Lighterman, apprenticed to her dad. Jane trained for seven years and worked for the Port of London Authority in the Salvage and Rescue department. During this interview Jane talks about the history and traditions of the Waterman and Lighterman trade, her experienceof being the first female Waterman and the empolyment avaliable on the river today.

During the latter part of the interview Jane speaks about her job now, working for Unite the Union as the regional officer for Dagenham. Jane represents 4,000 members associated with working on the river.

Anonymous 3

The interviwee tells of difficulties retaining jobs because of their epilepsey, working for Greenwich Council and at Deptford Town Hall.

Read the story

Kitty Finch's Story

Kitty tells a number of stories about the people she worked with, dances at Peak Freans, serving and spilling Doctor Lloyd’s dinner at St Olaves Hospital.

John Penver's Story

From an early age John was used to getting up early and going to work with his grandfather who sold tools from a wheelbarrow at Tower Bridge Market. During this interview John tells stories of helping his grandfather, working at Courage Brewery and for the Civil Service

Read John’s story

Anonymous 4's Story

Christopher Carr's Story

Christopher Carr is of the Carr family who were managing directors of Peek Freans biscuit factory for generations; starting with John Carr school friend of John Peek in 1860.

In this interview Christopher talks of coming from a family of biscuit makers, Peek Freens commitment to the community of Bermondsey and the invention of the Twiglet.

Fergus Carr son of Christopher Carr wrote a essay titled “The changing face of economics and the consequences for industry”. The essay “examine(s) the change of use of the Peek Freans biscuit factory in Bermondsey from confectionary manufactory (use class B2) to offices and studios (use class B1)”. The essay can be found here.

Treasures

From Docks to Desktops has created a significant interest in the communities of Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, and Deptford. We have been shown pictures, objects, songs, and have been sent books and articles. Some of these are tools from their trade, books people have written, or items that have been collected and kept. We have created this page on the From Docks to Desktop site so you can view the treasures shared with us. Clink on the link Images below.

Patrick Doyle has allowed us a copy of his Indenture of Apprenticeship from Mills & Knight LTD Nelson Dock Rotherhithe Street. To view the document please click here.

Blog

Events

 

From Docks to Desktops is a year long project exploring the subject of work. We are recuriting volunteers to tell stories, gather stories, transcribe, resaerch and generally support the project. Throughout the year we will have a series of events, trips and visits. Most events are free and open to all. This section tells you about past and future events and how you can join in.

From Docks to Desktops Pop Up Roadshow Tour

Since summer 2012 we have immersed ourselves in the working lives of elders living in Rotherhithe, Bermondsey and Deptford. We have interviewed 39 story tellers (more above), researched 15 factories (more below) and have written the first draft of a script.

Over the next few weeks we will be visiting community centres and venues with a roadshow, exhibiting and sharing the material gathered so far. Come and find us at any of the dates and venues listed below to listen to our story teller’s experiences of work, see a map of factories around the area and the industries they supported and explore the variety of smells once produced from these factories.

Claire Sexton, Project Coordinator, will be there to help answer any further questions about the project so far and our plans for the future.
We hope to see you there.

18th May     Burgess Park                11:30am – 5pm

20th May     Blue Anchor Library     11am – 3pm

25th May     The Blue Market          10am – 5pm

15th June     Deptford Lounge          12:30 – 5pm

Industries

This is a list of factories (we have been told of) that once populated Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Deptford.

We would like to say thank you to the Southwark Local History Library and Archive for helping us with the images. Some of these images were untraceable, so if you have information on the copyright holders please contact Claire, claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Courage's Beer

Who owned the factory?

The company was started by John Courage in 1787 in Anchor Brewhouse loacted at Horsely Down Road.

What did the factory produce?

The company was a brewery that produced beer.

Facts

Courage’s benefited from the neighbouring industries; leather factories provided saddles and bridles for their 200 dray horses, Cooperages provided barrels and glass houses provided bottles.

There were a number of jobs one could be employed in at Courage’s.

A Drayman delivered beer, Malt Porter’s carried sacks of malt, and women were bottling girls.

When did the factory close?

1955 Couarge merged with Barclay Perkins & Co Ltd

1970 the company was bought by the Imperial Tobacco Group

1981 Anchor Brewery was closed and the company moved to Worton Grange, Berkshire

Story teller John Penver worked for Courage’s follow the link to listen to his story

Sarson's Vinegar

Who owned the factory?

Sarson’s Vinegar pre-dates their Bermondsey site. In 1794, James Thomas Sarson opened Sarson’s Vinegar in London. The company changed trading names often;

1833 Henry & James Sarson

1884 Henry Sarson’s and Co

1893 Henry Sarson’s and Sons

A battle with Champion and Slee, a second large vinegar company climaxing in 1928 when Sarson’s joined Champion and Slee on the condition Sarson’s could operate under their own brand name.

When was the factory built?

It was after the merger with Champion & Slee that the two companies shared the Sarson’s factory site in Tanner Street.

What did the factory produce?

Malt vinegar

Facts

The first bottled vinegar was sold in 1869 to the Green Grocer and fruit trade sold by travelling salesmen Buckley, Paget and Buffer. These early bottles were made of decorated blue glass with the firm’s resigration number and name on them. This contiuned till the bottles could be mass produced.

In 1913 the company brewed more than a million gallons of vinegar. This increased to five million gallons in 1950, giving Sarson’s the well known slogan: “Don’t say vinegar, say Sarson’s.”

The company built houses for their workers known as Brunswick Court, but they were not without their problems. Cockroaches liked the malt from the factory and would feed on the malt sacks stored in the railway arches of the London to Greenwich railway. When the sacks were moved, the cockroaches would run to Brunswick Court. During the war a dumped oak vat was set alight and the woodlice living in the vat infested all the houses in Brunswick Court.

In 1932 Sarson’s joined British Vinegars, a group of several independant malt vinegar brewers.

When did the factory close?

From 1962 various changes occured for Sarson’s. The Sarson’s factory was in use until British Vinegars moved to Tower Bridge Road, British Vinegars was taken over by Crosse and Blackwell in the 70’s and by Nestle in the 1980’s and the fatory building was unused. The workers’ houses were also demolished in the 1980’s after sinking into the ground. Laws and Estate bought the Sarson’s factory in 1989 but it was deemed unfeasiable in a reccession. The site was closed in 1992 and the factory used for storage.

In 2000 the building was turned into 200 apartments and 100 offices by architects Dransfiled Owens Design.

Metal Box Factory

We are currently researching Metal Box Factory. If you know the answers to the questions below or know where we can find information about Metal Box Factory please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the facotry produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Tin Plate Factor

We are currently researching Tin Plate Factory. If you know the answers to the questions below or know where we can find information about Tin Plate Factory, please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Fevers

We are currently researching Feevers. If you know the answers to the questions below or know where we can find information about Feevers please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Barrow, Hepburn and Gale

Who owned the factory?

The business was founded in 1920 by the joining of Hepburn, Gale and Ross Ltd with Samuel Barrow & Brother Sons Ltd.

Hepburn & Gale produced:

military equipment

cured leather

belting

Samuel Barrow & Brother Sons produced:

Tanners & Gelatine

When was the factory built?

The group had factories in: Natal, South Africa, Sydney Brisbane and Adelaide. In these countries the buiness was hides, tannering, materials and leather. They also had footwear centre located in Leicester.

Their head office was in Grange Road and it was here they had a military equipment and travel goods section.

What did the factory produce?

All things leather.

Facts

The company supplied leather goods during World War II.

When did the factory close?

Alaska Fur Factor

We are currently researching Alska Fur Factory and hope to answer the questions below soon. If you know the answers or know where we can find information about Alaka Fur Factory please contact Claire claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Crosse and Blackwell

Who owned the company?

The company was purchased by Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell in 1830. Up until that point, the company had been called West and Whyatt.

When was the factory built?

What was the laboratries of Crosse and Blackwell was once home to Elisabeth Lazenly factory. In 1924 Crosse and Blackwell merged and built new buildings and again in 1927.

What did the factory produce?

They  produced both canned and glass packed goods.

Canned goods included: luncheon meat, baked beans and peas.

Glass packed goods included: Branston Pickle, salad cream, meat and fish paste.

Facts about the factory?

Tomato puree used for tomato ketchup and sultanos for Branston Pickle were imported to wharfs along the Thames. For their calf’s foot jelly Crosse and Blackwell used gelatine from Youngs Gelatine Factory.

The factory had a staff shop where cans of luncheon meat could be bought for the sum of one penny.

They also so had social club, tennis and a amateur dramatic group which performed at the Rotherhithe assembly hall.

When did the factory close?

The company was taken over by Nestlein 1964 and moved to Hyes in Middlesex in late 1969.

What happened to the building?

It is now occupied by the Bermondsey Project

E Spaull and Co

Who owned the factory?

E Spaull and Company was established in 1880 and continued to 1942. It was one of the few pipe making firms to continue into the 20th Century.

When was the factory built?

1880 till 1899 the company was located at 31 Wescott Street Tabard Street.

In 1900 the company moved to 154 Bermondsey Street, in 1903 it moved a couple doors up to 138 Bermondsey Street till 1906.

What did the factory produce?

In 1880 when the company was established it made clay pipes. In the 1940’s the company described itself as wholesale glass and earthen ware merchants and sundries men.

Hartley's Jam Factory

When was the factory built?

Hartley’s Jam in Bermondsey opened June 25, 1901. It covered 2 acres and cost £100,000. The building was divided into 7 or 8 departments; including the sugar store, boiling room, cooling room and the finishing and packing room. Hartley demanded the best for his factory and workers.

What did the factory produce?

The building was designed to output 400 tonnes of jam a week.

What methods were used in making the product? 

Hartley demanded freshness, so as soon as the jam mixture was finished, it was poured directly into highly glazed stoneware jars – not glass, as the glass was prone to breaking at high temperatures. It was then stored in warehouses until sold.

Facts about the factory

Many labour saving machines were installed as a majority of the 2000+ workers were women. Miles of trams were built around the factory to assist the women with the heavy manual labour and special seats were made to prevent workers bending.

Hartley looked after his workers, paying them 20-40% more than other local factories and also offered free medical treatment.

Was the factory sold?

It was sold to Schweppes in 1959.

Did the factory close?

Yes operations in Bermondsey finished in the mid 1970’s and moved to Histon, Cambridgeshire. The factory was closed in 1981.

What happened to the building?

The building was converted into 200 apartments and 400 square metres of office space in early 2000.

Masters

We are currently researching Masters. If you know the answers to the questions below or know where we can find information about Masters, please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

B Young Gelatine Works

Who owned the factory?

It was established in 1884.

What did the factory produce?

Young’s produced gelatine that was used for industrial and photographic purposes. At Spa Gelatine, an ediable gelatine was produced for factory Crosse and Blackwell.

Facts

The company took advantage of the numerous tanneries nearby and used tannery waste in its processes.

They were so scared of spies that the company developed a code system to discuss the factories processes.

When did the factory close?

The factory closed in 1981  and the land was sold for redevleopment in 1982.

Lipton's Jam Factory

We are currently researching Lipton’s Jam Factory. If you know the answers or know where we can find information about Lipton’s Jam Factory please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

The factory was owned by Sir Thomas Lipton.

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Pearce and Duff

Who owned the factory?

The Company Pearce & Duff was a family run business started in 1847 in a private house.

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

In the private house products were just baking and egg substitute powders. In the 1950’s, products included:

Blancmange Powders

Jellies

Herbs

Spices

Pearce & Duff products were exported to 77 countries.

Facts

The family believed in high standards for their products and the finest working conditions for their employees. Promotions and courses were provided throughout the company and many staff had long records of employment.

In 1957 the production of custard powder was started by a push button allowing the plant to become fully automatic and required little supervision while producing “two tons of custard powder in an hour.”

When did the factory close?

Storyteller Ada worked for Pearce & Duffs to listen to her story follow the link https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/ada-s-story/

Bevingtons and Son

Who owned the factory?

Bevingtons and Sons was Bermondsey’s largest leather manufacturers dealing in light trade. The site was referred to as The Neckinger Mill due to the Neckinger River that supplied water to the factory, essential to the leather trade.

When was the factory built? 

The site was a former printing site.

What did the factory produce?

Fine leather goods. Light trade leather that included: Moroccan leather, roans, skivers and sealskins.

Facts

Samuel Bevington who ran the mill in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century was Bermondsey’s first Mayor of the years 1900-1902. From the 1800’s the London to Greenwich railway was built across the mill. The company continued to operate on the site but in two halves. In 1930’s Bermondsey Council bought the south end of the mill for housing, which was later named the Neckinger Estate.

When did the factory close?

In 1935, the company moved part of its production to Hawley Hill Dartford. It continued to operate from their Bermondsey site until the 1980’s.

What happened to the building?

Peek Freans

We are currently researching Peek Freans. If you know the answers or know where we can find information about Peek Freans please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built? 

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Story Teller Sylvie worked for Peek Freans to listen to her story follow this link https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/sylvie-s-story/

Story Teller Irene worked for Peek Freans to listen to her story follow this linkhttps://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/irene-s-story/

Shuttleworth Chocolate

Who owned the factory?

The company was founded in 1830 and orginally sold tea.

What did the factory produce?

At its site on Galleywall Road it produced:

Coca

Easter Eggs

Christmas Novelties

They also produced Couverture which they sold to other factories who used Couverture for covering biscuits.

Facts

In the 1950’s the company built a garden and swimming pool for its staff

Story teller Helen worked for Shuttleworths to listen to her story follow this link https://www.londonbubble.org.uk/page/helen-s-story/

Molins

We are currently researching Molins If you know the answers to the questions below or know where we can find information about Molins please contact Claire: claire@londonbubble.org.uk

Who owned the factory?

When was the factory built?

What did the factory produce?

Facts

When did the factory close?

Atkinson Perfume


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