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Wednesday, 16 May 2018


Web Page No 2476

19th May  2018

First Picture: An early Smiths Crisps Packet


Second Picture:  An Early Advert
 Third Picture:  1960’s advert


Fourth Picture: A tin of Crisps!

Crisps
Now here is something to get all nostalgic about, those strange packets of Penny Crisps. From memory these were filled with broken crisps and crisp pieces but were half the price of the normal packets of Smiths Crisps. Smiths were the only manufacturer in those days.
The normal packet of crisps, as can be seen from the illustration, cost 2d a packet so the 1d packets were a great saving and I am sure that my local tuck shop, Shaw’s on the corner of Highlands Road and Solent Road must have sold hundreds of them, if not thousands. These 1d packets were easily identified as they came in the usual greaseproof packet with printing on them but whereas the normal packets had coloured printing on them, the 1d ones were only printed in black. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a picture of those 1d packets.

Today, Walkers dominates the British crisp market, this wasn’t always the case: Smith’s Crisps supplied almost every pub and hotel in Britain in 1949.

Frank Smith (1875 – 1956) began his career as an apprentice grocer in London. He was promoted to manager of a small crisp department at a Smithfield wholesale grocers. He entered crisp manufacture for himself from 1919, raising £10,000 with two friends.
The first factory was a disused garage in Cricklewood. The fledgling business had a staff of twelve in 1920. The enterprise proved successful enough that Smith only had to spend £6,000 of his initial capital: further expansion was funded entirely from profits. Additional  factories were opened in Portsmouth, Birmingham, Paisley and Stockport in 1921. Smith’s Potato Crisps went public in 1929, by which time there were seven factories. All of the early output went to hotels and pubs, and this would remain the largest market for Smith’s until the 1960s.
By 1934, 200 million packets of crisps were sold in Britain each year, 95% of which were manufactured by Smith’s.
To ensure supply, Smith’s acquired 8,000 acres of farmland in Lincolnshire, which provided around10% of the company’s potato requirements. Due to crop rotation, only between 1,000 to 1,200 acres were used for potato production at any one time. It was the largest farm under single management in Europe.
During the Second World War the majority of production went to the military.
By 1949 Smith’s had eleven factories and twelve depots in Britain, and two factories in Australia. Over 2,000 staff were employed. The vast majority of pubs and hotels across Britain were supplied by Smith’s Crisps. This was at a time when pubs did not serve food, and crisps were generally the only bar snack available.
The company was producing over ten million packets of crisps every week by 1956. Net profit after tax exceeded £1 million for the first time in 1960.
Smith’s acquired its major rival, Tudor Crisps, in 1960. Tudor was in the process of constructing a large new factory at Peterlee, County Durham, and Smith’s was keen to prevent a rival gaining control of the new site.
Smith’s was the only national brand at the time, but Tudor enjoyed distribution in Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands. Founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1940s, Tudor was the first company in Britain to use automated crisp manufacture, and had brand leadership in the North East of England. It had a labour force of 160. The Tudor acquisition helped Smith’s achieve a market share of 65% in 1961, of which Tudor accounted for three to five%.
Golden Wonder had been founded in 1946 by William Alexander, an Edinburgh baker. The company was acquired by Imperial Tobacco in 1960. Imperial built three large new factories and promoted the product heavily on television. A cellophane bag was introduced to keep crisps fresher for longer. The brand went nationwide in 1964. Golden Wonder’s market share overtook Smith’s by the end of 1965, and by 1966 they had a market share of 45% against Smith’s 34%.
Golden Wonder appealed to teenagers and children, but especially housewives. This meant that Golden Wonder was growing the market, rather than poaching Smith’s customers. As Smith’s did not monitor its competition, it did not become aware of a problem until 1966, when its sales fell slightly. Meanwhile, the grocery store market was growing whilst Smith’s pub snacks market declined.
In 1967 the Peterlee plant was expanded to 150,000 square feet to produce eight million packets of crisps a week. By this time it employed 500 people and was one of the most efficient crisp factories in Europe. There were also factories in Belgium, Holland, Ireland and France, as well as Australia. By this time the number of British factories had been reduced to seven.
In 1967 the company name was changed to Smiths Food Group, to reflect wider participation in the savoury snacks market, such as roasted peanuts. Company focus was switched from production to marketing.
The company’s first flavoured crisp, Salt ‘n’ Vinegar, was launched by Tudor in Spring 1967, and the Smith’s branded version was released two months later. It was the first time the now iconic British crisp flavour was introduced. However, the flavoured crisp had been pioneered by Tayto of Northern Ireland in the late 1950s.
1967 also saw Smith’s replace translucent paper with cellophane film bags which increased shelf life from a few days to over six weeks.
Smith’s had long claimed to manufacture a high quality product, but Golden Wonder achieved higher standards with the continuous batch process. Growing Golden Wonder cost Imperial Tobacco £10 million, mostly in factory costs, and due to a high marketing spend the business ran at a loss until 1965. Smith’s had presumed that the barrier costs of entry were too high for a competitor to match. They were wrong and it cost them. Largely due to these concerns, Smith’s was taken over by General Mills of America in 1967 for £15-16 million.
Smith’s introduced Quavers in 1968, and Monster Munch in 1977. These were part of the new “extruded snacks” category, which were made using potato flour. (Golden Wonder launched Wotsits in 1970).
Meanwhile between 1962 and 1969, Walkers quadrupled its sales. In 1971 Walker & Son of Leicester sold the company to Standard Brands of America.
In 1972 Golden Wonder had a market share of 39%, Smiths 32% and Walkers 12%. Still heavily regional, by 1974 Walkers claimed 50% of the Midlands crisp market. Walkers was a premium product with a heavy marketing spend that sold mainly to the wholesale trade.
Smith’s became loss-making under General Mills, who sold the company to Associated Biscuits for £16.4 million in 1978, explaining that a British concern would likely be better tuned in to the needs of the company.
Walkers and Smith’s were managed separately: Walkers was a high margin, high quality regional product, but it suffered from a narrow product range, poor trade relations and no innovation. Smith’s focused on low prices, but this merely resulted in low profits.
In 1988 Smith’s had sales of £145 million; Walkers had sales of £114 million. Walkers Crisps alone had a 32% market share. PepsiCo, who owned Doritos and Lay’s crisps in America, acquired Walkers and Smith’s for $1.35 billion in cash in 1989.
Walkers held 44% of the salted snacks market by 1995. Launched in Scotland in 1994, by 1996 Walkers had displaced Golden Wonder as the local market leader. Walkers acquired the Wotsits brand from the struggling Golden Wonder for £150 million in 2002, following disappointing sales of its own similar Cheetos product. Golden Wonder entered into administration in 2006, a victim of the popularity of Walkers.
The Walkers site in Leicester produces more than 11 million bags of crisps a day as of 2011.
But who can forget the little bag of salt?
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On this day 19th May 1960-1965.

On 19/05/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Royal Variety Performance (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/05/1961 the number one single was On the Rebound - Floyd Cramer and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/05/1962 the number one single was Nut Rocker - B Bumble & the Stingers and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/05/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please, Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/05/1964 the number one single was Juliet - Four Pennies and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/05/1965 the number one single was Where Are You Now (My Love) - Jackie Trent and the number one album was Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.



Wednesday, 9 May 2018


Web Page No 2474

12th May  2018

First Picture: Fun on the ice

Second Picture:  Sledging in the street




Third Picture:  Tatty copy of the Beano

Wet Playtime

Whilst tidying up my granddaughter’s toy box that she keeps in our house I was putting old books and comics back in the box when I suddenly remembered putting things away in special boxes in the classroom at junior school after we had to stay in as it was a rainy playtime and we could not go out to play.
Rain at playtime must have been a big problem for the teachers as they had to stay in with us and keep control after having made a dash off to the staff room to collect their breaktime tea or coffee. This meant that they got no rest from classroom duties.  As pupils we were totally unaware of this extra duty they had to take on and to be honest it really did not matter to us at the time. Occasionally if two of the classrooms were close together one teacher would supervise both leaving the other free to retreat to the Staff Room. A wet lunch time was different as those having school dinners were all shepherded into the dining area and then they were the responsibility of the dinner ladies until the afternoon teaching session.
Rainy or frosty playtimes was always unpopular with us as pupils, as we needed time to get some fresh air and to run around and dispel some of our energy and to just get out of the classroom.
So, what did we do on those wet days? There was always a box of very back dated comics to look at, I have no idea where they come from but they were always available, but after a month or so of the autumn or winter terms we had read them all and were bored with them. There was a box of well-played with toys which must have been around for many years as they were all badly bent or scratched or both. There were also games and jigsaws but you could never guarantee that all the parts would be there!!!
Around Christmas time the wet days were less of a problem because we could all be employed in sticking paper strips together to make paper chains or Chinese lanterns for either home or the classroom. Once these chains and lanterns were made and hung up the classroom became an Aladdin’s cave of crepe paper and tinsel.
We all had our favourite games and the one time I remember that we were allowed to take our own games into school was the last afternoon of every term and it was then that we were allowed to take a favourite game into school to play with during the afternoon.  
One of the worst parts of staying in during playtime was that the classroom would get so stuffy even though the door was opened regularly when the cry ’Can I go to the toilet Miss’ was heard.
Needless to say the classrooms were well controlled by the teachers, not necessarily silent but the noise being held down to a gentle rumble of conversation, no shouting, loud voices and definitely no arguing, actually looking back this sort of playtime was hardly any break at all and I know that we would eagerly await the Spring and Summer Terms when we knew that we would be able to play outside to our hearts content.
However, there was one bonus on very cold frosty or snowy days and that it was possible, in our lower playground, to build long ice slides. These slides were enjoyed by many children until the caretaker came along with a bucket of ashes from the boiler house and covered them over as these slides were deemed, by the powers that be, to be dangerous. Still it was always fun whilst it lasted and I remember many a fall and torn trouser leg but I cannot remember a broken leg or foot happening the whole of the time I was in Junior School. By the time we had moved up to senior school we were too old for this type of thing!!!
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On this day 12th May 1960-1965.


On 12/05/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions

On 12/05/1961 the number one single was Blue Moon - The Marcels and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 12/05/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 12/05/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Liberal Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 12/05/1964 the number one single was Don't Throw Your Love Away - Searchers and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 12/05/1965 the number one single was King of the Road - Roger Miller and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.



Thursday, 3 May 2018


Web Page No 2472

5th May  2018

First Picture: Building a childhood  den


Second Picture:  Platform in a tree


Third Picture:  Rhododendron bush great for tree rooms





The Den
Did you have a Den when you were a child? I was lucky we had a long garden and the very top that backed onto Solent Road School playground (this has since been sold to the school and is a nature area). Here I had room not only for a den but also for underground hiding places and also a tree house or platform. I have two other friends who at that time were also lucky in their play areas, one had an orchard to play in and another a whole market garden. But the area at the top of our garden was left fallow when my father was away and was a glorious wilderness for us to play in.
Where to start? The tree platform I suppose. The tree was a large beech tree which grew up against the school playground wall. Hiding this part of the garden from the house was a whole line of hazel nut trees making this area very quiet and private. With some searching around in one of my fathers sheds we managed to find enough timber that we could nail together to form a sort of platform about 12 feet up in the tree and from here we could sit and look right into the school playground. Why we should want to do this I cannot remember especially at weekends and holiday times, why did we want to be reminded of school? The platform was a great vantage point to play pirates and solders from. My friends and I spent many happy hours on this platform in this tree and in the land of make believe.
If we were not in the tree we were busy digging a subterranean clubhouse beneath the gooseberry and current bushes a few yards away from the tree. To do this we borrowed my father’s spade and fork and dug a big oblong hole. This is when the corrugated iron from the old dismantled air raid shelter came in useful. Having dug out the hole, the sheeting was put across it with a couple of supports going across the middle and the whole thing was then covered in earth. We, in our own minds, thought that it was fantastically camouflaged and no one knew it was there, but I am sure my parents knew all along. Having got the club house or den completed all it needed was an old carpet to go in the bottom of it, (this got very soggy when it rained), some alcoves dug out of the walls to place short candles in for lighting and we were ready for anything. I do remember that to try to improve the place and keep it warm especially in the autumn and winter we constructed a very basic hearth and lit a fire. The result was a group of boys dashing out of the den as it filled with smoke. We now learnt the hard way, and very quickly, the theory of flue and chimney management and with the help of odds and ends from the old air raid shelter and my fathers shed we did eventually construct a workable chimney and so make the whole thing quite acceptable, fairly water tight and warm. But we could never solve the problem of rain water running down through the doorway and onto the floor of the den making the carpet soggy. But after all we were not the first with that type of problem because practically everyone who had an Anderson Shelter in their back garden during the war years experienced the very same problem!!! 
My wife and her younger sister had a different sort of den in their grandparents garden in Ringwood. Theirs was housed under the branches of an enormous Rhododendron bush outside the cottage back door. The tree put down branches to ground level and made a wide clear space by the trunk as a main room and it also formed little side rooms off to the sides where the smaller branches met the ground. They would drag old carpets and chairs into the ‘tree house’ and play in there for hours. I remember that when we were courting and I went down to Ringwood Pam proudly showed me their old tree house and some of the old furniture was still in there quietly rotting away.
Did you have a den or secret place?


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Peter

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On this day 5th May 1960-1965.

On 05/05/1960 the number one single was Do you Mind - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 05/05/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 05/05/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 05/05/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 05/05/1964 the number one single was A World Without Love - Peter & Gordon and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was West Ham win FA Cup.

On 05/05/1965 the number one single was Ticket to Ride - The Beatles and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was First transatlantic TV programme via satellite.




Thursday, 26 April 2018


Web Page No 2470

30th April  2018

First Picture: Ladybird logo




Second Picture:  Ladybird catalogue


Third Picture:  Ladybird badge


Forth Picture:  Ladybird Adventure Club






Ladybird

Ladybird was and still is a well-known children's clothing brand in the UK and Ireland. It focused on clothing and footwear for children aged 0 to 13 years old, and today is owned by Shop Direct, the UK's largest online retailer and parent company to household names like Littlewoods, K & Co, and Isme. Ladybird is still the third largest kidswear brand in the UK, with a growing market share of 5%.

The main aim of Ladybird has always been to make kids' clothing that's both fashionable and functional, designed to cope with the rough and tumble of a child's life, from messy playtimes to smarter occasions. Ladybird has a long history dating back to the 18th century, with the Ladybird clothing name first appearing in 1938.

Ladybird children's clothing first appeared in the UK in 1938. The brand was owned by Adolf Pasold & Son, and sold through various well-known high street retailers, including Woolworths and Littlewoods. The name "Ladybird" was bought by Adolf Pasold & Son for just £5 from the Klinger Manufacturing Company because, according to legend, company founder Johannes Pasold had seen a ladybird in a dream when first starting the family firm in the 18th century.

The 1950s saw the first of the famous Ladybird press adverts, depicting Ladybirds in various human-like roles including scientists and computer boffins. In the early 1960s Ladybird clothing was being promoted by "The Ladybird Adventure Club", a full-colour comic strip in the children's magazine Swift. This was drawn by John Canning, and depicted the unlikely adventures of three Ladybird-wearing children who contrived to flash their "secret sign" (the Ladybird label) in every episode. By the 1960s, Ladybird had established itself as one of the UK's best-known names in children’s wear, although it was often sold under a different brand name in chain stores like Woolworths and Littlewoods. At this time, Ladybird effectively sold two ranges; in high street stores, the clothing was cheaper and more accessible to ordinary families; while in independent retailers, where the Ladybird brand name was used, the garments were generally more expensive, high quality pieces bought for Sunday best or by more well-off families.

In 1965, as British manufacturing started to decline, Ladybird merged with the world's largest sewing thread manufacturer Coats Patons. The deal gave Ladybird access to a huge range of wool and thread, opening up possibilities for new ranges. Coats Patons starting discussing the possibility of offering Woolworths exclusive rights over the Ladybird range in 1984. Sure enough, in 1986 the collaboration went ahead. Fourteen years later in 2000, Coats Viyella (as Coats Patons had become) sold the Ladybird name to Woolworths outright. Over the next few years, it became the favourite kids' clothing in the UK for under-5s, and was sold globally through stores in countries as diverse as China, Saudi Arabia, India and Malaysia.

However the Credit Crunch of 2008 brought problems for parent company Woolworths, and the organisation went into administration in 2009. Both Woolworths and Ladybird were rescued by Shop Direct, the UK's largest online retailer, and relaunched online in the same year. Ladybird is now sold exclusively through Shop Direct outlets, in fact their Very company and Littlewoods advertise next day delivery. The age-old brand values remain, with a focus on creating fun, fashionable, functional kidswear. Many of our parents remembered Ladybird as being the gold standard for kids clothes albeit in very conservative designs. They were impressed by Woolworth's combining the latest styles and designs with the robust, double-stitched quality standards that made Ladybird Clothes so durable. Doubters were reassured by a money back guarantee.

We all must have worn some of their items although I doubt if the boys will admit that they wore clothing with Ladybird on the label.!!!!!

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On this day 30th April 1960-1965.

On 30/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

30/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

The On 30/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 30/04/1963 the number one single was How Do You Do It? - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 30/04/1964 the number one single was A World Without Love - Peter & Gordon and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

30/04/1965 the number one single was Ticket to Ride - The Beatles and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.