Pumphrey Jam and Icing sugar factory

Can you help?
I am almost certain that this is Phumphreys Jam & Icing sugar factory in Mandale Road. Thornaby. (This information was kindly provided by Robert Dicken)
Mandale Road Thornaby-on-Tees. The ceramic tiled property was part of Pumphreys Jam and Icing sugar factory. The property on the left corner was Barclays Bank (corner of Robert St) The building to the right of Pumphries was Mr Reynolds Ironmongers shop. (This information was kindly provided by Robert Dicken)
Pumphreys factory Mandale Road Thornaby makers of Lemon Curd, one could smell the lemons when passing the premises. My sister Nora had her first job there in 1955 aged 15 yrs on leaving school (This information was kindly provided by Philip McNeill)
This looks like Mandale Road in Thornaby – just to the east of the Town Hall – and I think the low modernistic building used to be Pumphreys Sugar Works. (This information was kindly provided by Julian Herbert)

55 thoughts on “Pumphrey Jam and Icing sugar factory

  1. My Mother Norma Connor and her close friend Maureen Bartley (their maiden names) met when they were age 14 circa 1943 when they began working at Pumphrey’s where they made cake decorations. They are still great friends! They knew Jenny Oates and a group of these friends used to gather at my parents’ home and reminisce. My aunt, Enid Connor also worked at Pumphrey’s during the same era. She had a scalding accident on her legs involving jam, I believe. She lived an active life to a good age.

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    • Know your mum well, worked with her at Pumphreys, remember a lot of girls who worked there, brings back happy memories. My name was Ethel Thornton till I got married, many happy days then. Ethel Lowther.

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  2. My father Reg Clark passed away last year at the tender age of 93. He worked there for 40 years, I remember dad taking me with him on deliveries around the Dales. I remember clif Ashmond and the other guys dad used to work with. A long time ago for sure, my mother used to bake up a storm at Christmas time!
    Cheers Rob Clark

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    • The Cliff Ashman you mention was my cousin, and he was the transport manager of Pumphreys. He sadly passed away some 9 or 10 years ago.

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    • Hi Rob,sorry to hear your father has passed away. I worked with Reg at Pumphrey’s he was lovely, a right gentleman. I worked in the offices for 15 years from 1965 to 1980 I got made redundant when the transport depot closed and I think it was only another year before the whole factory closed. Happy days, we had some laughs over the years. I was always sneaking through the factory on some excuse or other to see everyone and your dad of course made the marzipan it was delicious, fresh from the mixer. I used to bump into him over the years as we both lived in Hartburn. He used to tell me about going to Canada to see you. I think it must be over 10 years since I had seen him last and he was still cheeky as ever, still driving and chuffed to bits about it. I am sure he must be sadly missed by you and your family. Best wishes Barbara Berry (Mallon)

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      • Hi My dad worked with Reg in the almond dept Jim Bartley. I remember going down with him on a Saturday morning to move the almonds around in big water vats. I sat in a white tray and floated at the edge! It was thrilling! Then I loved to have a ride in the lift with the metal gates. My mam worked there (Rita) she was on “the Plant” during the war years and just after. Dad chased her and they got married. Years later I did my stint there working under my dad! I packed the marzipan dad and Reg made. Happy days.

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        • Hello Sandra I met your Dad a couple of times. My Dad was Laurie Alderson and he worked at Pumphreys for over 50 yrs. He was Transport Manager when he retired in 1979. He was not a well man when he retired as he had a serious accident at work. The cables on the lift snapped and he came down two floors. Fortunately no one else was in the lift. He never fully recovered, and died in 1991. I wondered if you remembered hearing about his accident?

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          • Joan, my cousin Cliff Ashman was Transport Manager at Pumphrey’s though I think it must have been maybe before your dad…

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  3. I used to visit Mandale road every sunday to visit my grandparents – well, actually they lived round the back of Pumphreys in – i forget the name – could it be John st?? My mother worked at Pumphreys for a while when she was young – she was born in 1931. She was called Sheila Wilson – i remember her telling me she made little flowers, violets i think she said. She died over 2 years ago. I don’t know if her mother Edna Wilson ever worked there – but i do know she worked in a little newsagents on Mandale road in the early 70’s. I don’t suppose anyone is around to remember her now, she was a lovely woman. My granddad was always known as Jack wilson (john stanley wison really) —— i seem to think in his retirement years he worked as a watchman at Pumphrys – but i could have got that wrong. He was quiet well known in Thornaby, worked with the salvation army fundraising i think. I do wish pumphrys had old employee records somewhere it would have been nice to pick out relatives. My mother also used to mention a chocolate shop there too on mandale road – laceys?? Ring a bell with anyone??

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    • I would like to look up on an old girlfriend of mine who worked at pumphreys in the 1960’s…her name was Josie and lived in Thornaby…
      I would be so pleased if anyone would can help…

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  4. I used to buy fondant from them to feed my bees in the winter [the home of bridal icing sugar], Archer Street Job Centre was nearby where we went from Yarm School for them to help us get employment when we left school [and flaming useless they were too]

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  5. Neil, I have a photo of your Nan’s shop and Barnard Street you can have. We lived in Barnard Street 1942-1964, and as a child I bought milk, bread and scones there daily. Mrs Crone had a grandson who lived in Mandale Road who was a pal, I think he was Tony Crone? another relation was Ray Costello.

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      • Hi Neal, I will ask the Library Staff to send you my e-mail address, your Nan baked beautiful rock cakes and my mother was forever buying them from her in her grocers shop. Tony Cone, Pat Crone and Ray Costello I knew very well indeed. Also Alfie Frost (My respects and R.I.P) and many, many others. Bob.

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  6. Bob Wilson – your reference to Crones grocery shop, that was my Nanas shop and it was on the corner of Barnard Street and Queen St. Around the Five lamps there were other shops like Pacittos ice cream shop and Blooms carpet shop. Also a butchers called Toulsons.

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  7. Reference to pig keeping in Thornaby mentioned in a post above by F P Mee. May I remind Thornaby residents of ‘BILLY’, who collected waste food in a wheel barrow pushcart around Thornaby in the 1940 – 1955 period: Billy [RIP] was Thornaby’s answer to Stockton’s famous ‘Giggy Moon’, both being two famous street characters who were respected by all. Billy’s full name was William Gibbons, his family had a butchers shop in Westbury Street, and his father it was rumoured was the former Mayor of Thornaby? How accurate this info is I don’t know. Another character was Old Mr Ayres k/as ‘Yabbo’ who lived in Spring Street, Thornaby, he collected scrap metal with a pram and walked miles each day doing so. Which reminds me, does anyone have a photo of the wood plaque erected on the terrace wall in Spring St, Thornaby, which contains a list of the five Spring Street WW1 dead. All five from one street, if not a photo does anyone have a list of the names?

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  8. The bank shown was Barclays Bank, next door to it in Robert Street was a side entrance into the bank. Directly over the road from the bank was a corner shop which calibrated truck diesal pumps, at the rear of this shop was their welding shop in which they did Alloy Welding. Further along Robert Street on the left you had an old guy who rented out handcarts for 5/- a day. In the far corner of Robert Street there was a builders yard. To the right and out of sight was the Laddercraft Joinery company, walking away from Laddercraft and back towards Mandale Road you had next to the bank annexe Pumphreys Boiler House building [shown] In Mandale Road, you had Pumphreys, Mr Reynolds Hardware Shop [Mr Reynolds was Britain answer to The Munsters or The Adams Family all rolled into one, what a wonderful ghost Mr Reynolds would have made!] Walking towards the Five Lamps from the bank shown you had 100 yards on the left the St Johns Ambulance Hall, Kaufmans Carpet Shop, then the Yorkshire Bank, whose main doorway was opposite Scots Paper Shop, next to Scots you had Hills the Bakers, formerly Jakie Fells Wet Fish shop, The National Canteen [closed] a TV shop, then the Queens Cinema. Shops came and went I recall Home & Colonial, Liptons, a printer and stationers and Dickens, also Crones grocery and sweets, then a pub.

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  9. My mother and father used to own the china shop over the road from Pumphries, it was called Mackays selling a varied assortment of glass and china from 3 June 1960 leaving 1975.

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  10. My mam Sheila Ward nee Maine worked at Pumphries from about 1948 for four years. She made sugar flowers and in the summer picked the tops off the strawberries in the garage for extra pay. She worked with Betty Currie, Margaret Skerritt, Jenny Oates, Norma Moore among others. Life working at Pumphries was a joy. She has 4 sons and a daughter to her husband Lol Ward who unfortunately passed away in 1992.

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  11. You are quite right about the flavour of bacon today Frank, the art of curing salting and smoking has gone. Pigs dont get the chance to root about outside or be fed from foodwaste like they used to. One way and another the Ministry of Food in recent years has messed up the food chain until nothing is the same. I dont think it is even called the Ministry of Food, some fancy name with so many offshoots nobody knows what they are doing.
    When you entered Thornaby the aroma from Pumphries met you like the days of Rowntrees of York all swallowed up by massive combines from abroad. Our own identity has gone!

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  12. Pumphreys’s – that brings back memories. We had our own pigs and Dad having his own truck would whilst doing jobs for Pumphrey’s pick up metal containers of waste, usually lemon curd or jam. Our pigs only ate the best and my job was to light the outside boiler scrub potato’s in a big metal bath with a yard broom then boil them until tender. They were so good I often took a couple opened them up and spread them with butter to eat. Once cooled I put them into another tub to be used over the coming week. We also boiled cabbage very lightly, pigs like some crunch and I chopped up root vegetables. This was all mixed with oats or corn and some of the lemon curd or jam waste and fed to the pigs. They loved it and on more than one occasion I was knocked over in their rush to get at it. During the war Dad was noted for his sweet tasting bacon and hams. Most pigs in wartime got fish meal and you could taste it in the bacon. He also collected waste from Sparks Bakery which we also mixed in the food. There was a government scheme whereby all food waste was put in separate buckets by householders then collected and taken to Darlington to be made into a concentrated food for animals, Dad would not touch it, he did not feed his pigs on rubbish. We got a ration of oats or corn meal from Maddox warehouse in Stockton for animal and chicken feed but luckily we got topped up from my Uncle Arthur Marsay’s farm plus root veg mainly turnips. Those pigs lived on the fat of the land but when the time came we had no problem turning them into bacon and ham’s, I can still taste it as I ate bacon every morning before school then work. Today’s rubbish, even the supposedly outdoor, is not a patch on that bacon we ate then.

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  13. I worked at Pumphreys in the early seventies and remember Cliff Ashman, a dapper slim chap running round in overalls. I think he was in charge of transport, I also remember Lory Alderson, Jim Bartley in charge of almonds and sugar, Mr Jaret, factory manager known as Minter by the older hands and Jim Miller in charge of jam making.

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    • Graham, Cliff Ashman was my cousin, and a Hilda Curry who worked in the decorations ( icing ) department was also a cousin

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      • My dad is Jim Bartley, unfortunately on Sunday 9th Nov 2014 he died. He had many stories about the place and I really wished he had written them down…he told me once of someone plumbing the hot water tap to the toilet flush and someone nearly burning their backside!!!! Also when I was little I used to go down to the Mill on a Saturday morning and have a ride around in the plastic tub in the blanching vats!!!!
        lots of names along with those you mention I recall, along with Walter, Derek Brignal and …someone Scott.

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    • Hello Graham Hughes, not sure if you will see this message but I’m new to computers and have just found this site regarding Pumphreys. Laurie Alderson was my Father and I remember all the people you mention in your post. Of course Dad is no longer with us but Mum only died two years ago aged 96. Happy days.

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  14. My husbands grandma was an Edna Clasper who worked at the sugar factory about 1927. Am really pleased to see the picture. If anyone has any knowledge of her I would love to hear from them.

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  15. Definitely Mandale Road – it is Barclays Bank on the corner of Robert st, and its still there but is a security company now. The modern building was the new extension to Pumphreys sugar factory, my mam was the comptometer operator in the offices there and we lived over the road from the main entrance on Archer Street. The factory was knocked down and Breeze motor company is in its place now.

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  16. Does anyone remember Clifford Ashman who was transport manager at Pumphreys also Hilda Curry of the decorations team. They are my cousins.

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  17. I was absolutely staggered to see my old car in this picture. It”s a 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood reg. no. PLO 9L, and I bought it from a friend at work in about 1981. I sold it in I think 82/83. The car was originally painted dark metallic brown, but the new owner had it resprayed bright red. I remember often seeing it parked in Archer St, as in this scene.

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  18. My interest in Pumphreys comes from researching my father-in-law”s past. His name was George Peterson and he worked there in about 1932 when he was about 14 years old and before he left to go to sea on the whalers. If anyone can give me more details it would be lovely. I wonder if there is a log of employees from that time? George was an orphan so we have few other leads to follow.

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  19. Hi I”m Jackie, Just a reply to the lady who is Rita Walkers daughter, Andrea Edmondson. It was my mum Brenda Wright (nee Parker) who wrote that piece on here, (well I typed, she dictated, hah) Her name seems to be on the previous message though, and it looks like Alan Weallens has wrote that bit. Bit confusing really..! She always talks fondly of her time in Pumphreys, and the girls she worked with. Your mum must be the same age as mine, b1931. I will tell mam tomorrow the message you have posted on here; she”ll be over the moon. I have searched the internet for any photos of the girls who worked there at that time but I haven’t found anything as yet, only photos of the outside of the building, maybe a trip to the library is in order.

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  20. I remember working in Pumphreys c.1936, I was Connie Burton at that time, I worked in the part which made the cake decorations, this was called the “posh part” in those days. My sister Irene also joined there before me. I will be 86 years old this month and have happy memories of Pumphreys as it was a nice clean job in those days.

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  21. I am Rita Walkers daughter ( ref comment from Alan Wealleans 9/11/2004), and I can remember her telling me about Pumphreys, Ive really enjoying looking at the old pictures of Thornaby. My mam has just celebrated her 75th birthday and was quite excited when I told her about her name being on the internet.

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  22. Does anyone know what was next door to the bank in this photo on the other side of Roberts street. I am an artist and currently have a studio space in this building on the top floor. It now has a computer shop in it and a signmakers/ graphics shop on the lower floor. I would love to see a photo of it from the late 1800″s up to the 1920″s as a ghost of a lady was spotted wearing a dress of the early 1900/ late 1800 period in the building tonight while we working late. We were listening to early jazz music which may have attracted her and she seemed friendly so we weren”t too spooked. If anyone has any information on this I would love to hear from you. feel free to contact me at bauhaus503673@msn.com.

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  23. I am cuurently building up a collection of photos from the streets from the old end of Thornaby,  Anderson Road, James St, Cuthbert St,  Short St etc…any one that would like to email me any I would be very grateful.  paul.jefferson2@ntlworld.com

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    • Hi just came across this and noticed you mentioned Short Street. I lived in number 13 Short Street along with my mam and dad and two brothers Stephen and Nigel Barron. We lived there until 1971. Happy Days.

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  24. I was  just wondering if anyone has any photos of people that worked in the iron Foundry in Thornaby. I”d love to see some. I can remember the Yorkshire Bank on Mandale Road 1968. as I used to go there every Thursday with my mam and I got to go in the greasy spoon a couple of doors down from the bank for a bacon sandwich. That”s going back thirty years and it only seems like yesterday. I remember really clearly. but how different it looks now

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  25. HI, my maternal family lived “BACK” Mandale Road, and I am looking for anyone with old pictures of Mandale road, especially of the wood work place the back streets of Mandale road circa 1975. Some good photos of the fair and anything you may think some one who is searching might like to see.

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  26. In the comments of Brenda Wright(nee Parker), she worked with the ice decoration team and mentions a Hilda, this lady was my husband”s aunt. Her name was Athalinda Hilda Morris and was well known in Thornaby for her cake decorations.  Her sister worked at Phumphreys with Elizabeth Annie Morris.They lived in Gladstone Street round the back of the drill hall.

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  27. Yes this is Pumphreys as a child my grandma lived just up the street a bit, the front was a wool shop * back Mandale road* and I remember walking past as a kid!  My unc worked in the lino shop!

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  28. The building is the Pumphrey factory. Immediately after demob from army national service I worked for a while at Laddercraft Ltd which was then situated behind Pumphreys. If a machine fault meant that some jams were labelled wrongly we were offered the jams at half price. —Everyone bought some!

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  29. I worked in Pumphries from 1946 when I was 15yrs old until  1956. I would walk there from Diamond Road. I remember Sue Scott was in charge of the “icing decoration team”. I worked with a Rita Walker and Maureen Bartley for many years. Izzy, Edna, Jenny, Olive and Hilda were in the team but had worked there years before us.

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  30. I am almost certain that the first building on the corner of Robert Street, and Mandale Road was the Yorkshire Penny Bank, then Pumphreys, and the last building at the end was where Reynolds Hardware shop was.

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