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Author Topic: Shippam's of Chichester  (Read 1351 times)
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pomme homme
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« on: December 27, 2014, 15:15:37 PM »

I'm sure that, amongst those of 'a certain age', I'm not alone in remembering teas comprising Shippam's fish and meat pastes on brown bread.

Shippam's trace their origins back to 1750 when Shipston Shippam, who had been a sergeant in the 72nd Regiment on Foot, established a grocery business in Chichester. He died in 1778 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Shippam. In 1832 one of Charles' sons, George Shippam, opened a grocery shop in North Street (the founding shop had been at Westgate). In 1851 George moved his business to 48 East Street, where he was joined by his son, another Charles, who was a successful pork butcher. Shippam's became celebrated for their quality "Chichester" sausages, and in 1886 started canning meats, such as ox tongues. In 1894 they began producing a wide range of potted meats and fish pastes. Charles Shippam died in 1897, and two years later five of his sons joined together to create a private company, Shippam's Ltd., to carry on and expand the business. The East Wall factory set up in 1873 was expanded several times as demand for the Company's products increased. In the years leading up to the First World War Shippam's became major suppliers to the armed forces.

After acquiring a number of other food processing companies in the 1960s and early 70s, Shippam's were themselves taken over in 1974 by the Underwood Company of Boston, USA. After a further change of ownership, the firm was acquired in 1995 by Grand Metropolitan, a UK financial conglomerate specialising in hotels, food and drinks. It is now run by Prince's Foods, and is based at Terminus Road in Chichester. The famous East Wall factory site has been redeveloped.


[source: www.sussexpostcards.info]

I've tried, without success, to find images of the tall, barrel shaped glass jars, with their crimped metal lids (here I may be suffering a false memory, as I've found reference to the jar lids having spring clip seals), which I remember as the containers for Shippam's Pastes when I was young. However it does seem that the majority of the Shippam's range, which I remember from my youth, is still available but differently packaged and, I feel sure, carrying a price tag significantly in excess of that which I remember!

There's an interesting essay on this topic to be found at http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/jan/14/childhood-tastes-nostalgia.

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pomme homme
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 15:18:35 PM »

I've now found an image of the earlier glass jar, which is the same as that which appears on a piece of the company's advertising ephemera. These also bear out that I was suffering a false memory as to the method of lid closure. It was a spring clip!

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pomme homme
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 15:31:41 PM »

A more detailed narrative history of the company appears on http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb182-shippams, which reads as follows:

The Shippam's business first started in 1786, when Charles Shippam established a grocery store in Westgate, Chichester. Various members of his family also started businesses in the same line, and continued to do so after Charles' death in 1817. In 1832, George Shippam (one of Charles' sons) opened a grocery store in North Street: in 1851, he moved the business to 48, East Street, and was joined there by his son Charles, already an established pork butcher. The emphasis of the business gradually moved from grocery provision to pork butchery, and together they created a popular line of sausages. In fact, such was the popularity and eventual fame of Shippam's sausages that they became known as the "Celebrated 'Chichester' Sausage"; as a result, Shippam's gained customers from all over the country.

Keen to expand the business, in 1886 Charles turned to food manufacturing and began packing products - whole pheasants, ox tongues, soup and galantines, to name only a few - into cans. These products were followed in 1894 by a wide range of potted meat and fish pastes, for which Shippam's was to become internationally famous. Following Charles' death in 1897, five of his sons - all of whom were already provision merchants - formed a partnership in 1899 and, in 1913, they converted this to a private limited company, Shippam's Ltd. The popularity and range of their products continued to grow, with Shippam's supplying goods to the Royal Family, HM Forces and Captain Scott's ill-fated polar expedition in 1910, as well as various overseas merchants.

As its popularity and product range expanded, so too did the Company's factory and premises. Major expansions were made to the site at East Walls in 1912, 1922 - 1924 and the 1950s, and members of the public were invited to come and see the factory for themselves, as Queen Mary had done in 1924: whilst most visitors took a wishbone as a souvenir of their visit, Queen Mary left with miniature jars of paste, to be placed in the Royal dolls' house. The second half of the twentieth century saw further growth and change at Shippam's. In 1960, in order to make inroads into the emerging Prepared Foods market, the Company began making Chicken Supreme ready meals: these were followed by a range of canned goods and meals. Declining sales and a decision to focus on these new, growth markets meant that Shippam's ceased producing its famous sausages in 1970, although it continued to make meat and fish pastes. This move ensured Shippam's continued success and, in 1984, it launched the "Old El Paso" range of Mexican-style foods and sauces.

In order to keep up with demand, Shippam's not only expanded its premises in Chichester, building a distribution depot on the Terminus Road industrial estate in 1966, but also formed partnerships and acquired manufacturing and processing plants around the country. In 1969, Shippam's bought the Crediton Poultry Processing Plant in Devon, followed by Cornish Canners Ltd, Newlyn, in 1971. The Crediton plant was further extended in 1979 and, in 1980, a freezing plant was built at Long Rock, Penzance. In addition to expanding its processing and packing plants, Shippam's acquired Senior's, a rival producer of potted meat and fish pastes based in Middlesex, in 1968.

Shippam's success was noted by a number of international firms and, in 1968, a 26% share of the business was purchased by the William Underwood Company of Boston, USA. In 1974, the rest of the business was sold to Underwood's, but Charles (Jim) Shippam retained his post as Chairman. Underwood's itself was bought out in 1984, and Shippam's consequently became part of the International Group of PET Inc., another US conglomerate. This arrangement ceased in 1995, when Grand Metropolitan, a major UK food and drinks corporation, purchased Shippam's, although PET Inc. retained ownership of the Old El Paso range. In 1996, Charles Shippam retired, a move which effectively ended the family's connection with the business.

In 2001, the Company was acquired by Prince's Limited, although the Shippam's brand survives, and pots of Shippam's fish and meat pastes are still sold today. Prince's has retained the factory and distribution sites at Terminus Road in Chichester, but the East Walls factory site was sold off: in 2006, the site was redeveloped to provide a number of retail units and apartments, but the factory's fa├žade, and the Shippam's sign and distinctive, much-loved clock, remain for all to see.


I've failed to find, on the internet, an image of Shippam's original factory, at East Walls, Chichester, before it relocated its manufacturing to an out of town site in Terminus Road, Chichester.
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Weebouy
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 16:21:12 PM »

Sir Cyril Shippam swore me into the Police Service in the 60s.

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John
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 16:59:51 PM »

These also bear out that I was suffering a false memory as to the method of lid closure. It was a spring clip!

Hmm, I'm suffering from false memory syndrome too - I'm sure that there were tall glass jars with, as you say, a crimped lid on them! Or I was sure up until now..
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 17:11:20 PM »

A couple of newspaper adverts from 1934 and 1945. The latter is quite interesting, as it showed just how the Company must have been suffering from wartime restrictions.

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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 21:30:43 PM »

Not wanting to hijack this thread on reminiscences over what shape the paste bottles were (barrel shaped (tick) screw lids Huh?
I seem to recall that the Great War Forum did have a long thread regarding correspondence between Shippams employees who had joined up (mainly South Downs) and their mates in the factory regarding who they had seen, when and what happened to them....
Parcels being sent, letters exchanged and so on, quite detailed and extensive correspondence, published in the house magazine....

Sorry, back to the topic - HNY to all!
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Daisy
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 10:53:38 AM »

I've got an image of a small jar that you had to prise up a small tab which was in a slot and a ring around the top pinged off.  Was this Shippam's paste?

When I was a kid paste in sandwiches tasted better than it does nowadays  Cry
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Pete
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 14:10:35 PM »

That's the one, about 1.5" high and wide and a double sized one too. Lucky to open them without blood being spilt either opening the clip around seal or trying to prise the lid off
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pomme homme
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 16:43:09 PM »

No doubt 'elf an' saifty' wouldn't allow such a lid and closure today and/or local claims' farmers would be trawling for clients to justify the threat of a class action against Shippams!
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John
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2017, 07:22:20 AM »

Mid Sussex Times - Wednesday 04 October 1944

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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 09:00:39 AM »

Yum...

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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 07:41:31 AM »

Even yummier..

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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2017, 19:33:44 PM »

I recently tried the old paste, along with tinned sardines on toast. I had always laid past on thick and preferred crab paste. However the taste didn't live up to my memory and neither did the sardines in tomato sauce. I then added the missing ingredient - SALT - and hey presto it was much closer to my memory.

It makes you wonder if the reduction in salt these days is the reason a lot of the older foods are falling out of favour? I remember a cookery programme or article about a chef's two secret ingredients to bolster most meals - Salt and cream.

I recall an odd shaped jar for Shippam's but I have to say I don'r recall the lid being that much bigger than the jar. My consumption would have been in the sixties and then at the Mother-in-laws in the eighties and I could easily polish off half a jar on one slice of bread.
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Tim Sargeant
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2017, 09:49:54 AM »

In 1928 my grandfather purchased the Selsey Hotel and my father worked for a short while in the electrical department at Shippams maintaining the machinery before going into the motor trade at Adcocks of Chichester.
And yes, I do remember the circular seals on the lids with a tag that you had to lift before removing the sealing ring like a large circlip, similar to the sort of thing used for clamping drive shaft gaiters in place on CV joints.
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