Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

ABC of Chippenham: Nestlé

Nestlé is no more in Chippenham, but here's its old factory by the side of the River Avon in the centre of town. It's called Avonbridge House these days and was converted into offices in 1985. If you ever ate condensed milk before 1962 here in the UK (and elsewhere in the world if you bought the Milkmaid or Carnation brand), then it would have been made and canned in this very building. It was the oldest milk condensery in the world and the building dates back to 1873.

Chippenham is often thought of as an old woollen, market or railway town, but until recently it was also a major player in food production. Besides providing the condensed milk for our Saturday night teatime treats, Oxo cubes also hailed from Chippenham until 1975 and if you remember all the furore over whether ham imported from Parma and sliced in this country could be called Parma ham, well it was the former Hygrade factory just over the road which was at the centre of that particular storm.

Putting Parma ham to one side, North Wiltshire is also famous for its bacon and ham products and dry cure Wiltshire Ham is one of the few named cures available at most supermarkets and delicatessens. Harris's of Calne is the name most associated with this product, but Chippenham had the rival The Royal Wiltshire Bacon Company Ltd, at one time the largest of its kind in England. Its factory used to be alongside the railway station where the Hathaway Retail Park is today. I can remember waiting for my regular commuter train to Bristol in the mid 1980s watching the enormous building being demolished after it finally closed.

This is for ABC Wednesday and is the fourteenth in my themed posts about Chippenham.

10 comments:

  1. n-e-s-t-l-e-s, nestles makes the very best....chocolate.


    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  2. What a great post. I must visit!

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  3. Nice 'n Neat!

    Retired Navy for N, hope you can come by and comment. Thank you!

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  4. I love dry-cure Wiltshire ham. I used to love condensed milk too, with the emphasis on "used"! That old Nestle building is lovely.

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  5. My parents used Carnation condensed milk in their coffee! This is so fascinating to hear about the town and this building in particular. Thanks for sharing!

    Leslie
    abcw team

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  6. I still use Carnation canned milk when making pumpkins pies, or if I run out of half/half.

    This was a very interesty read.

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  7. This must go on my 'to visit' list! Thanks for the post!

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  8. Condensed milk - there's a blast from the past!
    Best
    R

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  9. Thanks for your comments ABCers - I'll see you over at yours :)

    Commonweeder - you must!

    Janet - I'm glad they made use of it rather than the usual pulling down

    Robert - it's a blast from my past too!

    Note to self: press the AltGr + e at the same time to get the required accent over the letter e. Alt + 130 doesn't work in the Blogger edit screen.

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  10. Bring back nestle

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