Posts Tagged ‘Jam’

In the jam factory

August 30, 2015

Back in 1985 the Easterton jam factory – Samuel Moore Foods – was in the throes of expansion. It was quite a large rural employer and perhaps that is why the factory was able to get one of the leading royals to officially open an extension to the factory.

It was Princess Anne who came to do the honours. The children from St Barnabas School went to be part of the cheering crowd and Easterton was very much ‘en fête’ for the day.

We suspect it was a worker at the factory who captured the photo below.

Princess Anne is shown round the jam factory on 30th April 1985

Princess Anne is shown round the jam factory on 30th April 1985

It isn’t clear that the Princess is in the photo – she’s in the group of three wearing a very white peaked cap. But apart from HRH, we see a glimpse of the interior of the factory when it was working.

Not being commercial jam makers we have no idea what the machines were, but huge ‘cooker hoods’ on the right presumably caught steam/fumes and sucked it all to the outside world. Presumably they are boilers, for cooking the jam, underneath them. The worker at bottom right appears to be stirring a vat of fruit.

The jam factory is now but a memory, completely swept into oblivion. It won’t be long before the first houses built on the site are occupied


A Moore family group

November 15, 2014

This year we have been given quite a few photos with a Samuel Moore/jam factory connection. It is pure coincidence that these have arrived just as the old factory was being demolished. One of the nicest of the photos shows the Moore family.

Samuel Moore and family - of Easterton

Samuel Moore and family – of Easterton

We are not certain of the location. It doesn’t look like Woodbine Cottage which was the Moore family home, but it does seem to be an entire Moore family in about 1911. Let’s name them all.


Sam was, of course, the founder of the jam factory although he learned his trade from Cedric Gauntlett who in turn had learned it from Sam Saunders.

Jane was his second wife and in 1911 they had only been married a couple of years. We guess his first wife – the mother of his children – died as a result of complications after giving birth to Bertha.

The two sons, Wilf and Bill became active partners in the jam factory business.

Wilf, Sam, Bertha, Jane and Bill Moore. The donkey's name is not known.

Wilf, Sam, Bertha, Jane and Bill Moore. The donkey’s name is not known.

What a charming photo and many thanks to Karen, a granddaughter of Bill who gave us a copy of it.

We’re jamming again

November 5, 2014

Today we’ll feature another photo of jam factory workers. Maybe, once again, we’ll get valuable information about these people.

jam factory ladies at Samuel Moore Foods, Easterton - probably in the 1960s

Jam factory ladies at Samuel Moore Foods, Easterton – probably in the 1960s

These three ladies are clearly sporting the latest in jam factory wear with elegant aprons and lovely gloves. In a sense it is a shame they have posed for a photo. It doesn’t tell us what job they did but presumably it was potentially hot and messy.

We believe these three ladies to be (from the left) Mary Burry, Dolly Wiltshire and Rosie Twiss. They were working at Samuel Moore Foods, the Easterton jam factory and we think this dates from the 1960s.

It would be good to learn more about them.

More Jam Factory Workers

October 17, 2014

Often, when we think of workers at the former jam factory we think of ‘the girls’. But men worked there as well in quite large numbers. And of course, this included the actual manufacture of jam. So today we feature two men at work amongst the hot sugary product.

Two chaps at work at the jam factory - probably 1960s

Two chaps at work at the jam factory – probably 1960s

This picture, which we believe dates from the 1960s, shows Preston Law and Nigel Marston. Almost inevitably we know nothing about them but thanks to John in Oz for identifying them.

Their old place of work is now no more. This photo was taken earlier this month and shows where the factory once stood.

The former jam factory site - October 2014

The former jam factory site – October 2014

We’ll keep you posted on this site as developments occur.

And we’ll come up with more photos of jam factory workers too.


More Jam Factory Girls

September 24, 2014

Today we have another photo from Karen, the great granddaughter of Samuel Moore. It shows more workers at the jam factory.

In Samuel Moore Foods jam factory in Easterton - probably 1960s

In Samuel Moore Foods jam factory in Easterton – probably 1960s

On the left we have Jackie Danton. In the middle is Mrs Kittle – or should that read Kiddle? And on the right it is Maureen Cooper.

These three ladies are clearly dealing with catering orders, The jam is not being put in jars, but rather into quite substantial cans. Samuel Moore Foods supplied quite a bit to hotels and the like so one assumes that is where the catering packs were going.

We believe this photo dates from the 1960s and, as ever, we’d appreciate any further information about people and/or processes.

A stoneware jam jar

November 5, 2013

Yesterday we featured a paper bag and today we have another item of near ephemera – a jam jar.

Back in 1985 a new extension was opened at Samuel Moore Foods – the Easterton jam factory. During the excavations for foundations, quite a large number of old stoneware jam jars were uncovered. It seems workers at the plant, at that time, were able to take one as a souvenir. One of these jars has just made its way to Market Lavington Museum, given by a person who worked at the jam factory back then.

Old stoneware jam jar found at Samuel Moore's Easterton jam factory

Old stoneware jam jar found at Samuel Moore’s Easterton jam factory

This jar is about the size of a one pound jam jar made of glass. It stands about 4 inches tall and has a diameter of about three inches across the top. As we can see, it is a yellowy cream colour with a black line around the rim.

We can also see it is not in A1 condition. There is a visible crack down the far side of the jar – and it goes from top to bottom. There is chipping to the glaze near the bottom as well. There is a red staining to the jar as well, albeit cunningly hidden round the back in this photo.

We have to make the assumption that this jar dates from early days at the factory as do the other, similar jars found. There are no marks of any kind on the jar to assist with identifying manufacturer or age.

Similar jars marked with a Hartley badge are quite frequently seen on internet auction sites. They are usually described as ‘Victorian’.

Because of the location where these were found, we are inclined to imagine them as more like 1920. Prior to the First World War, Samuel Moore and his family ran a cottage jam making business at their home, Woodbine Cottage on The Drove in Easterton (Now also called Sam Moore’s Lane). It seems unlikely that they would have dumped or stored jars on what later became the factory site.

We have found very little information about such jars as yet so maybe somebody out there could come up with a likely age and even a possible manufacturer. By the way, we have no interest in or knowledge of any value – except, for what it is worth, we think in cash terms it is worth next to nothing but in local history terms it is a valued treasure. That is what matters to us.

Samuel Moore gives his son the news.

June 22, 2013

It is more than two years since we featured a letter from Samuel Moore of the Easterton Jam Factory, to his son Wilf who was serving in France during World War 1. Here we have another.

Samuel Moore of Easterton - headed paper of 1918

Samuel Moore of Easterton – headed paper of 1918

Samuel used his company notepaper and here’s who he was sending to.

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

Like the previous letter we showed, the date looks like 1915, but we are sure Samuel actually wrote 1918. In the letter, Sam refers to Sunday August 18th as a date on which he was writing. That was in 1918.

The start of the letter

The start of the letter

Let’s transcribe.

Dear Wilfrid I have received your last card & letter and am pleased to hear you are getting on alright. I have had so much to attend to that I have not had time to write to you. Our business has grown to be a very large one. And fruits are very scarce & dear. I have been having a lot of fruit from Hampshire this year. Now everything about here is all different to what it was when you were here. But with all the changes our business of jam making is the best. You can make jams day and night and sell them. I have the large boiler fixed and am putting the building out in line with the front door. I should have said the government fixes all the prices for fruits and jams.

I have had to leave this letter unfinished until this day Sunday August 18th. Since then a great deal has happened. I am now taking fruits and ??? from what is known as the Wiltshire Fruit and Vegetable ???. We are having a lot of blackberries through them at 3d per pound. There are scarcely any apples this year. They are 6d per lb. And plums are not less than 3½d per lb. I have 4 cases of oranges at 50/- per case – 10d per lb – and am using them in my new preserve at 7½d per lb. People rush for it.

Now all that is wanted in the business is money to extend it.

I have plenty of offers but I would rather be my own master.

I now employ several people every week.

Percy Webb – he is just leaving as he will have to join up. ??? Clelford – she works for us constantly.

The rest of the letter is not clear, but for those who would like to try to decypher it, here it is.


The sign off is ‘your loving father S. Moore’.

Easterton from the Air – 1970s

September 4, 2012

Easterton has changed quite a lot in 50 or so years. We’ll see a few of the changes in this aerial photo taken in 1970.

Easterton from the air in the 1970s

We could start at the top left with some of the houses on Hayward’s Place. Residents there may not know that their road is named after Ben Hayward who occupied the house ‘Kestrels’ for much of the nineteenth century.

A path, from just below those houses leads diagonally across the picture and passes in front of Woodbine Cottage. This white building under a red roof was the home of Samuel Moore. He started producing jam on a cottage scale from this house which is situated on what now gets called ‘Sam Moore’s Lane’ or ‘The Drove’. Of course, his business expanded and when this photo was taken almost all of the land to the right of Woodbine Cottage is occupied by the jam factory. Much of the area has stacked up barrels of fruit. Once upon a time it had been grown locally but, by the 1970s, it was mostly imported fruit that was used.

You can see much more about the jam factory at The Museum Miscellany on 15th September this year.

At the bottom right of the picture a bungalow stands where once there was the entrance to Easterton School. Easterton School closed its doors in 1971 when the new St Barnabas School opened serving Market Lavington and Easterton.

We can now work back to the left along High Street. The house and buildings of Halstead Farm stand out clearly. The house is still there but more housing occupies much of the site around it now. Towards the left there is the former Methodist Chapel. That is now a dwelling house. The church members became a part of Trinity Church, which now meets in the Community Hall in Market Lavington.

We can just see the tops of houses on this side of High Street. That area is pretty well unchanged today.

The Easterton Fruit Harvest

May 26, 2012

There had to be good reasons for a large jam factory to develop in Easterton. In the nineteenth century there were several small fruit preserving enterprises with, perhaps, that run by Samuel Saunders being the biggest. But it was left to Samuel Moore, in the early years of the twentieth century to move the business on from a cottage industry to one more on the factory scale.

The fruit fields of Easterton Sands stood behind all of the jam making businesses in the area.

Today we are looking at a photo which shows pickers at work in the fields. We think it dates from the 1920s or 30s.

The fruit plantation at Easterton – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

We can see, straight away, that this was much more than a mere garden patch of fruit. These days, people under the age of about 60 will have no memory of these fields.

The caption made this card an advert

The postcard was obviously used as an advert, for it tells us that this was a part of the fruit plantations of Samuel Moore and Sons, Easterton, Wilts. Tel. Lav 57.

And Samuel, himself is in the photo.

Samuel Moore of Easterton

That’s Sam. We don’t know who the lady is.

Other people in this photo are named, or partly identified.

The lady in black is said to be Doug Roger’s Granny

Sam Moore’s daughter.

Mrs S Topp

Two Smith sisters

Doris Baker

Jack Hill

Mrs L Cooper, née G Topp

We’d love to hear from anyone with memories of any of the people in this photo or people who can recall the fruit plantations in Easterton.

A letter to the front

April 22, 2011

Market Lavington and Easterton were no different from the rest of the country during World War One. The young men were away at the front and worried parents and partners were back at home, sending letters to try to support their fighting folk.

One such letter has recently been given to Market Lavington Museum. It comes from Samuel Moore who lived along The Drove in Easterton and who was running his fruit preserving and jam business. The letter was sent to his son, Wilfrid.

The museum has ben given a photocopy of an original letter which Wilfrid carried with him until he left the army. The condition is amazingly good.

Sam Moore wrote the letter on company memorandum paper with this header.

SamuelMoore letter header

And this gives the time and date and destination of the letter.

The letter, dated December 31st 1918, was addressed to Private Wilfrid Moore, British Expeditionary Force in France

The letter itself is largely Sam suggesting his son is in neglect of his duties at the jam factory whilst he is away fighting the enemy. It is a fascinating insight into ways of thinking.

First part of the letter

Dear Wilfrid

Since your absence, 2 years ago we have made ‘Herculean’ efforts to fill the gap you left when joining the army and we have also done much to defeat the enemies objects by putting on the market all the produce we possibly could. And I am pleased to say our products have given much satisfaction. We are already asked to increase our output tenfold but this cannot be done unless you return to your former duties. That is the superintending of the Bottling Department and the preservation of the fruit in our unique way for the production of the highest class jams. To speed matters up would it be advisable that you should make a direct appeal to your commanding officer?


The letter continues

This would be in accordance with the government plan for demobilisation. I am already asked what men and women I could employ but this entirely depends on your early return. It has been quite impossible to find people who are capable of carry out our plans and methods without almost wearing me out. And I am beginning to find the strain of this very much now. My memory is getting very bad indeed. I think it is a pity that something should have been done whilst you were on leave. I hope that you arrived in time and that you did not miss your train.

From your loving father

Samuel Moore.