Thursday, 19 February 2009

Shippams of Chichester

Shippams are famous for their jars of paste, and most of us have probably tasted it in a sandwich at some time. However, only those who paid attention to the label will be aware that the firm was founded in Chicheser in the eighteenth century.

The Shippams were prominent grocers and later butchers in the town. In 1892, they expanded by building a factory behind the butcher's shop to manufacture canned goods and potted meats.

The famous metal-lidded glass jar was launched in 1905. Now sterilised, the products had the long shelf life which remains central to their appeal. A later innovation was television advertising: they were among the first companies to use this new medium, in 1955 (see their 1955 'guide to opera' advert here).

Today, Shippams are no longer a family firm and their Chichester factory moved out of the town centre in 2002, but they still have a visible presence within the city walls. This clock in East Street features a fine wishbone; a 1954 company film declared that 'a feature of the factory which always appeals to visitors is the great pile of wishbones. There must be a quarter of a million of them, and twelve hundred new bones come in every day, so anyone who calls can take away a good luck token.'

27 comments:

ChrisP said...

The Shippams factory was moved, not closed, and a good job too as it made the entire east end of Chichester smell of fish. The clock itself was originally moved to the new site on an industrial estate, but was subsequently moved back by public demand. You can see the clock in its temporary position here http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2404/Prince_among_ready_meals.html.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you for the article link, I've corrected the post (and am now trying to forget the phrase 'protein-in-sauce products'!).

Peter Ashley said...

Like Marmite, I remember Shippams jars had spring clips round them that were so much fun to take off.

Linda said...

I really miss Shippams spreads. And I remember the old spring clips, too. :)

fran39 said...

Great post, Caroline...I'm about to do a foody nostalgia post about Shippams! Bloater paste was always my favourite

CarolineLD said...

Thank you - I look forward to reading your post.

dss said...

Hi Caroline, I'm the great gran daughter of Mr Shippam, and would like to thank you for your informative Post. Its nice to hear peoples memories of our old family business.

CarolineLD said...

Hello, thank you for commenting and I'm glad you like the post.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

My mum was Janet Shippam and I have never bought shippams paste because I always believed that my grandad was done out of his dues!

John

Chris Stewart-Moffitt said...

Hi
My great aunt was Bessie Shippham [nee; Moffitt]. Would be interesting to hear from other relatives as it is a part of my family tree I know little about. My visit to your site was prompted by finding a Shippham's jar at a dig on a Bronze Age barrow on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. It was previously dug in 1903 and then backfilled. I had hoped that it would prove part of the backfilland help date it as it is a very old style of jar. If the production did not start until 1905it is unfortunately two years too late!

CarolineLD said...

Good luck with your various researches! You may have found a predecessor of the metal-lidded version Shippams started using in 1905, as they started making potted meats in the late nineteenth century. The Chichester District Museum may know more?

Si Todd said...

Hi all, I too have a relative in the Shipphams tree. My great great grandmother's sister Rebecca Bankhead married Walter John Shippham in 1902 in Kensington and they lived at Wyck Lodge, Sussex. I have some letters written by Rebecca, though she speeks mostly of the Bankhead family. She gives the children as Alexandra, who married Thomas Jay and Aileen who married Arthur Hollis and another born 1903 who I can't make out.

it's all facinating

Si Todd

harryb said...

I'm very sad that Princes have stopped producing the anchovy and bloater pastes. Does anyone have a family recipe they would like to share :-) I'd like to have a go at making the stuff myself I miss it so much!

Cheers,

Harry

Anne said...

I'm Walter Shiphams's great grand daughter. My dad used to often go to Whyke lodge, and he even worked in the factory a bit before it was sold to Prince's

Sime's World said...

Hi there,
Can anyone confirm that a member of the Shippam family was either a JP or Magistrate in Chichester during the 1960's? Thanks

Simon Wells

Anonymous said...

MY Aunt told me that my great great grandad John Hollingdale from petworth married a shippam girl and she was disowned when they got wed.he was a gypsy from
what i been told,quite a suprise.
can anyone help?
colin.tufnell@esterline.com

Anonymous said...

i meant it was a gumbrell who married a shippam girl .colin.tufnell@esterline.com

atrebatus said...

Very interesting. In a helpful way, one is missing a 't' in the following "firm was founded in Chicheser in the". Cheers!

Colin Tufnell said...

My aunt told me James gumbrell in 1860's had affair with shippam girl and she was disowned as he was a gypsy from moving.he was my great grandad

JFCHRISTMAS said...

Where can I get the recipe for bloater paste.JFCHRISTMAS

ray addison said...

I worked there for a number of years had some great times the fun with the picking girls , eating all day long , cheap drink in the club house over the road happy times

Adeline said...

I too am related to Shippams my great great great granny married a shippam i have a family tree that relates to this

Sue Desbois nee Talbot said...

My father - Arthur Victor Talbot, Jan 1914 to June 1983, worked at Shippams for 51 years from the age of 14. During the war the wives of the workers took over the men's jobs. I remember being taken round the factory on several occasions and each time being given a wishbone to take away. I had my wedding reception at the Shippam's Hall, accessed through a tunnel in the Roman Wall.

Sue Desbois nee Talbot said...

Shippams had a store in South Street (where Milletts is now) and they used to sell ham carved off the bone, jars of chicken jelly (my mum used to gave me this when I had my tonsils out) and their own fabulous pork sausages. Not sure when it closed, maybe in the late 50's ?

GEORGE said...

my grandfather GEORGE JAMES FARNDALE worked at SHIPPAMS from the age of 14 till he retired but he was good friends with the 2 brothers running it at the time, they asked him and my uncle ARTHUR BISSETT to go to NEWLYN CORNWALL to set up a plant there so the fish and crabs could be treated and put in ice to ship to CHICHESTER in refridgerated lorries so they were fresher. I myself worked in potting paste department myself for 2 years and at the time held the record for the most paste pots filled in a day, before it was automated in 1962, I also spent some time in NEWLYN CORNWALL FACTORY washing the carcases in giant washing machines after they had been topped and tailed by the girls as the fish were loaded off the boats. my grandfather worked a further 10 years of so after official retiring age. I left in 1962 to come to LONDON

While I was there I also ran a young persons disco on Friday nights in the club opposite the factory after going under the old roman wall. one of my sisters later worked for SHIPPAMS, before they closed.

at present I am trying to find my family tree, and I am having trouble finding any information about my grandfather GEORGE JAMES FARNDALE, and I wondered whether there are any employment records or family records held somewhere still ?
my grandfather was born 02/02/1892 and would have started at SHIPPAMS IN 1906 AGED 14. the births deaths marriage office have no record of his birth , and I wondered if SHIPPAMS records would have any record of his parents who let him work there at 14?
I am now the oldest living family member and I never heard him talked about his family or birth place.
I would be grateful for any help
GEORGE JAMES FOGDEN

Anonymous said...

The JP was my father's cousin

Maureen Baldwin-Moore said...

I am trying to locate Pauline Shipham....an old friend of myself and the Balsan family of France. Madame Balsan would love to hear from her re France-Aimee. 0687265021. maureen. 07342955687

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