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Batchelors Foods

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Whilst getting our "English fix" in Morrisons, Gibraltar the other week, I was astounded to see a packet of Vesta beef curry on the shelves. This evoked a memory of my childhood in the early 60's when we used to eat this stuff. Can't remember which particular type of meal it was but one time my Dad found a weevil amongst his rice, without further ado he packed it up in greaseproof, plate and all and took it to Batchelors factory to complain. He was rewarded with profuse apologies and about a years supply of the various packets of Vesta meals. Incredibly this experience did not put us off eating it!! Although my Mum was a wonderful cook it never seemed to occur to her to make proper curries in those days, maybe the appropriate ingredients were not readily available then. My question to all you knowledgeable people out there is where was Batchelors situated in Sheffield, I know the brand is still going but presume it is now owned by some huge conglomerate. Is there still any production in Sheffield? Does anyone else have fond memories of Vesta meals, Beef Risotto was my favourite but I would be reluctant to eat it these days!

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I remember the Vesta packet curry's,

must have been the first time in my life that I ever tasted curry.

Think that they also did a Prawn curry and a Chow mein with noodles things,

a Chicken and a vegetable curry.

But the Beef curry was my favourite,

In 1965 the Batchelors factory was on Limestone Cottage Lane, Wadsley Bridge.

picturesheffield

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© Copyright Terry Robinson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It is, or was, on Limestone Cottage Lane, which is off Claywheels Lane.

The factory's decline came because of the narrow lane and low bridge which made it impossible to get large enough vehicles onto the site.

Edit: It is still there.

Google Streetview

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Link to wikipedia info

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batchelors

I always thought they were down Claywheels lane area, I know in later years they did move out to Worksop.

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Link to wikipedia info

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Batchelors

I always thought they were down Claywheels lane area, I know in later years they did move out to Worksop.

1970 Kelly's have them at Limestone Cottage Ln, which runs off Claywheels Ln

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I added an edit.

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Whilst getting our "English fix" in Morrisons, Gibraltar the other week, I was astounded to see a packet of Vesta beef curry on the shelves. This evoked a memory of my childhood in the early 60's when we used to eat this stuff.

So when you found this packet of Vesta beef curry in Gibraltar did you buy it?

Did you look on the back of the packet at all?

If you did it probably said something like, -

BEST BEFORE: OCT 1968

:o

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Have to admit I was hooked on the Chow Mein. I must be a sucker for monosodiumglutamate!

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That's strange Batchelors were only mentioned this afternoon

in conversation and I was told it first started on Penistone Road in the

area where Sunblest and Barr's used to be. Then as it expanded it

moved to Claywheels and that also happened with Fletchers. :o

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Have to admit I was hooked on the Chow Mein. I must be a sucker for monosodiumglutamate!

I prefered the beef rissotto, I didn't know they still made it.

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So when you found this packet of Vesta beef curry in Gibraltar did you buy it?

Did you look on the back of the packet at all?

If you did it probably said something like, -

BEST BEFORE: OCT 1968

:o

Wow no. .... If you know Gib it probably did date from then ha ha. No way would I buy it. But don't take the p,, s out of Gib, they do a great saus sandwich!! Which is like nectar to us, I wont call us ex pats, maybe adventurers ha ha.

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I found out that Batchelors are now owned by Premier Foods, who apparently own everything now, eg Branstons, Birds Custard, etc.

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© Copyright Terry Robinson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It is, or was, on Limestone Cottage Lane, which is off Claywheels Lane.

The factory's decline came because of the narrow lane and low bridge which made it impossible to get large enough vehicles onto the site.

Edit: It is still there.

Google Streetview

Can rely on you Vox, thank you for the info.

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I prefered the beef rissotto, I didn't know they still made it.

The beef risotto was my favourite too, I might have been tempted to buy if they had that one. ;-)

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The beef risotto was my favourite too, I might have been tempted to buy if they had that one. ;-)

My mother and her sisters worked there from the late 1930s and in my aunt's case until she retired 29 yrs ago. It was on Clay wheels Lane with a Head Office at Worksop. The factory workers wore white overalls and white turban scarves and the company laid on buses especially for their staff to get to and from work. My aunt also worked in the factory shop and dealt with sending out 'complaint parcels'.

Lyn

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My mother and her sisters worked there from the late 1930s and in my aunt's case until she retired 29 yrs ago. It was on Clay wheels Lane with a Head Office at Worksop. The factory workers wore white overalls and white turban scarves and the company laid on buses especially for their staff to get to and from work. My aunt also worked in the factory shop and dealt with sending out 'complaint parcels'.

Lyn

I see what you mean about the turban scarves Lyn,

are any of your relations in this Christmas party photo ?

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Have to admit I was hooked on the Chow Mein. I must be a sucker for monosodiumglutamate!

MSG used to be a very common and highly promoted food additive in the 1970's, with its own official E number and everything.

These days its use seems to be highly frowned upon and treated with suspicion.

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Wow no. .... If you know Gib it probably did date from then ha ha.

I once didn't buy a bar of Palmolive soap from Jacksons supermarket in Cottingham near Hull in 1977.

I was attracted to it by the wrapper which had a banner saying 3d off (threepence off) using the d for old, pre 1971, currency.

On picking it up I was then drawn to the multitude of overlaid price tag stickers, - at least a dozen of them, making them stand proud from the wrapper but with the most recent, 1977, price on the top (I was so suprised at finding this I have forgotten how much the "actual" price was!

I looked on the rear of the wrapper at the "small print" which had details of this 3d off offer.

It ended with the words

OFFER ENDS 31 DECEMBER 1965

12 years on a supermarket shelf :blink:

Is this a longest time on the shelf record?

Or do you know a better one?

Is there actually a "shelf life" for soap?

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I see what you mean about the turban scarves Lyn,

are any of your relations in this Christmas party photo ?

One does resemble my aunt slightly! I remember their overalls being snowy white. It was the Batchelors 'trademark' - everyone knew where you worked then.

Lyn

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Whilst getting our "English fix" in Morrisons, Gibraltar the other week, I was astounded to see a packet of Vesta beef curry on the shelves. This evoked a memory of my childhood in the early 60's when we used to eat this stuff. Can't remember which particular type of meal it was but one time my Dad found a weevil amongst his rice, without further ado he packed it up in greaseproof, plate and all and took it to Batchelors factory to complain. He was rewarded with profuse apologies and about a years supply of the various packets of Vesta meals. Incredibly this experience did not put us off eating it!! Although my Mum was a wonderful cook it never seemed to occur to her to make proper curries in those days, maybe the appropriate ingredients were not readily available then. My question to all you knowledgeable people out there is where was Batchelors situated in Sheffield, I know the brand is still going but presume it is now owned by some huge conglomerate. Is there still any production in Sheffield? Does anyone else have fond memories of Vesta meals, Beef Risotto was my favourite but I would be reluctant to eat it these days!

I was a Unilever management trainee at Batchelors in the late sixties. They had 3 factories - Wadsley Bridge, Worksop and Ashford, Kent. Vesta was made down south at Ashford although the Brand Manager was at Sheffield. Metal Box had special lorries built to get under the railway bridge as they canned and dehydrated peas and beans in Sheffield.

Head Office was in Sheffeld where I was based before being sent to Woksop

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My mother and her sisters worked there from the late 1930s and in my aunt's case until she retired 29 yrs ago. It was on Clay wheels Lane with a Head Office at Worksop. The factory workers wore white overalls and white turban scarves and the company laid on buses especially for their staff to get to and from work. My aunt also worked in the factory shop and dealt with sending out 'complaint parcels'.

Lyn

Hi Lyn, maybe your aunt was the lady who my Dad dealt with and was so generous with the replacement meals. Thanks to everyone for all the replies and info.

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I once didn't buy a bar of Palmolive soap from Jacksons supermarket in Cottingham near Hull in 1977.

I was attracted to it by the wrapper which had a banner saying 3d off (threepence off) using the d for old, pre 1971, currency.

On picking it up I was then drawn to the multitude of overlaid price tag stickers, - at least a dozen of them, making them stand proud from the wrapper but with the most recent, 1977, price on the top (I was so suprised at finding this I have forgotten how much the "actual" price was!

I looked on the rear of the wrapper at the "small print" which had details of this 3d off offer.

It ended with the words

OFFER ENDS 31 DECEMBER 1965

12 years on a supermarket shelf :blink:

Is this a longest time on the shelf record?

Or do you know a better one?

Is there actually a "shelf life" for soap?

That must be some sort of record Dave. I wouldn't have thought soap would "expire" though :)

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I was a Unilever management trainee at Batchelors in the late sixties. They had 3 factories - Wadsley Bridge, Worksop and Ashford, Kent. Vesta was made down south at Ashford although the Brand Manager was at Sheffield. Metal Box had special lorries built to get under the railway bridge as they canned and dehydrated peas and beans in Sheffield.

Head Office was in Sheffeld where I was based before being sent to Woksop

Hello Extrainee and welcome to sheffieldhistory.

Thanks for your input.

Was the "Metal Box" that you refer to, the Midlands Company ?

I used to go to a place somewhere in the Midlands (maybe Birmingham) a couple of times a year back in the 80's. They made metal cases for a company I worked for. I think we referred to the place as "Metal Box"

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A big company Metal Box.

Quote: Wikipedia.

'By the 1960s, Metal Box was the leading packaging supplier to some of the largest companies in the world, including Unilever, Nestlé, Heinz, Imperial Tobacco, BAT, ICI, Hoechst, and Shell'

wikipedia.org/wiki/Novar_plc

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