Tag Archives: Robertson’s Jam

Scrap Book Project – Robertson’s Jam and Golly Badges

My Nan worked at the Robertson’s jam factory which was on Barmerston Road in Catford, South London.  They used to make Golden Shred marmalade and a range of jams and had, what many might say now, an inappropriate golly as the company symbol.  We used to have golly badges and they are collector’s items now but I haven’t got them anymore because I rashly swapped them for something else (I can’t remember what exactly) when I was about ten years old and that’s real shame.

We used to have quite a lot of marmalade and jam (blackcurrant was my favourite) and to get a badge you had to collect paper gollies which were behind the label on the jar and when you had ten you could send away for a badge.  Later you could get little pottery figures instead.

Robertson’s introduced the Golly in the early 20th century when John Robertson on a visit to the southern states of America noticed young children playing with little black rag dolls with white eyes, made from their mothers’ discarded black skirts and white blouses.  He was so intrigued by the popularity of the Golly that he thought it would make an ideal mascot and trade mark for the Robertson’s range of products and the idea of Golly trade mark was accepted by the Company in 1910.

The most valuable and collectable enamel badges now sell now for up to a thousand pounds each but with over twenty million Golly badges sent out over the years most are only worth a few pounds or so but it’s not about the value or the money I just wish that I still had them!  You can’t get them anymore because they were discontinued on 23rd August 2001 and you can’t get Robertson’s jam either, because in 2006 the brand was sold to Premier Foods and in 2008 they announced that it would discontinue the Robertson brand the following year.

  

The Routemaster Bus and Robertson’s Jam

Both my nan and granddad used to go work which was quite unusual in the 1960s.  He was a bus conductor on the old London double-decker Routemaster buses operating from the Catford depot on Bromley Road in South London.  I can remember him in his dark blue London Transport uniform with his red conductors badge and his leather satchel slung over one shoulder and his shiny metal Gibson ticket machine over the other walking home from work in a jaunty sort of way all along Barmerston Road.  In the summer months he had a lightweight grey jacket and a white cap which I always thought made him look more like an ice cream man than a bus conductor!

For those interested in the technical details, the Gibson ticket machine was introduced in 1953 and named after George Gibson a former superintendent of the London Tranport ticket machine works. Different denomination tickets could be printed onto a plain paper roll by adjusting the wheels on the side of the machine and then winding the handle on the left-hand side to issue it.  A meter recorded the number and type of tickets issued.

Photograph courtesy of John King

The Catford Garage was opened in 1914 and was one of the largest South London garages.  It was always associated with the Routemaster and in fact was the last garage in South East London to operate them.  The Routemaster was a double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company from 1954 and introduced by London Transport in 1956 and saw continuous service until 2005 when it was officially withdrawn on 9th December.

001

Nan worked at the Robertson’s jam factory which was on Barmerston Road itself.  They used to make Golden Shred marmalade and a range of jams and had what came to be regarded as an inappropriate golly as the company symbol.  We used to have golly badges and they are collector’s items now but I haven’t got them anymore and that’s real shame.  In 2006 Robinson’s sold out to Premier Foods and in 2008 the new company announced that it would discontinue the Robertson brand in 2009 in order to focus on its more successful Hartley’s.  By a strange, even spooky, coincidence the brand was discontinued on 9thDecember!

Robinson’s factory has gone now but the bus garage is still there.

Photograph  © Copyright David Wright and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence

Robertson’s Jam and Golly Badges

My Nan worked at the Robertson’s jam factory which was on Barmerston Road in Catford, South London.  They used to make Golden Shred marmalade and a range of jams and had, what many might say now, an inappropriate golly as the company symbol.  We used to have golly badges and they are collector’s items now but I haven’t got them anymore because I rashly swapped them for something else (I can’t remember what exactly) when I was about ten years old and that’s a real shame.

We used to have quite a lot of marmalade and jam (blackcurrant was my favourite) and to get a badge you had to collect paper gollies which were behind the label on the jar and when you had ten you could send away for a badge.  Later you could get little pottery figures instead.

Robertson’s introduced the Golly in the early twentieth century when John Robertson on a visit to the southern states of America noticed young children playing with little black rag dolls with white eyes, made from their mothers’ discarded black skirts and white blouses.  He was so intrigued by the popularity of the Golly that he thought it would make an ideal mascot and trade mark for the Robertson’s range of products and the idea of Golly trade mark was accepted by the Company in 1910.

The most valuable and collectable enamel badges now sell now for up to a thousand pounds each but with over twenty million Golly badges sent out over the years most are only worth a few pounds or so but it’s not about the value or the money I just wish that I still had them!  You can’t get them anymore because they were discontinued on 23rd August 2001 and you can’t get Robertson’s jam either, because in 2006 the brand was sold to Premier Foods and in 2008 they announced that it would discontinue the Robertson brand the following year.

  

A Life in a Year – 9th December, The Routemaster Bus and Robertson’s Jam

 

Both my nan and granddad used to go work which was quite unusual in the 1960s.  He was a bus conductor on the old London double-decker Routemaster buses operating from the Catford depot on Bromley Road in South London.  I can remember him in his dark blue London Transport uniform with his red conductors badge and his leather satchel slung over one shoulder and his shiny metal Gibson ticket machine over the other walking home from work in a jaunty sort of way all along Barmerston Road.  In the summer months he had a lightweight grey jacket and a white cap which I always thought made him look more like an ice cream man than a bus conductor!

For those interested in the technical details, the Gibson ticket machine was introduced in 1953 and named after George Gibson a former superintendent of the London Tranport ticket machine works. Different denomination tickets could be printed onto a plain paper roll by adjusting the wheels on the side of the machine and then winding the handle on the left-hand side to issue it.  A meter recorded the number and type of tickets issued.

Photograph courtesy of John King

The Catford Garage was opened in 1914 and was one of the largest South London garages.  It was always associated with the Routemaster and in fact was the last garage in South East London to operate them.  The Routemaster was a double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company from 1954 and introduced by London Transport in 1956 and saw continuous service until 2005 when it was officially withdrawn on 9th December.

Nan worked at the Robertson’s jam factory which was on Barmerston Road itself.  They used to make Golden Shred marmalade and a range of jams and had what came to be regarded as an inappropriate golly as the company symbol.  We used to have golly badges and they are collector’s items now but I haven’t got them anymore and that’s real shame.  In 2006 Robinson’s sold out to Premier Foods and in 2008 the new company announced that it would discontinue the Robertson brand in 2009 in order to focus on its more successful Hartley’s.  By a strange, even spooky, coincidence the brand was discontinued on 9th December!

Robinson’s factory has gone now but the bus garage is still there.

Photograph  © Copyright David Wright and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A Life in a Year – 23rd August, Robertson’s Jam and Golly Badges

My Nan worked at the Robertson’s jam factory which was on Barmerston Road in Catford, South London.  They used to make Golden Shred marmalade and a range of jams and had, what many might say now, an inappropriate golly as the company symbol.  We used to have golly badges and they are collector’s items now but I haven’t got them anymore because I rashly swapped them for something else (I can’t remember what exactly) when I was about ten years old and that’s real shame. 

Robertson’s introduced the Golly in the early 20th century when John Robertson on a visit to the southern states of America noticed young children playing with little black rag dolls with white eyes, made from their mothers’ discarded black skirts and white blouses.  He was so intrigued by the popularity of the Golly that he thought it would make an ideal mascot and trade mark for the Robertson’s range of products and the idea of Golly trade mark was accepted by the Company in 1910.

The most valuable and collectable enamel badges now sell now for up to a thousand pounds each but with over twenty million Golly badges sent out over the years most are only worth a few pounds or so but it’s not about the value or the money I just wish that I still had them!  You can’t get them anymore because they were discontinued on 23rd August 2001 and you can’t get Robertson’s jam either, because in 2006 the brand was sold to Premier Foods and in 2008 they announced that it would discontinue the Robertson brand the following year.

A Life in a Year – 8th January, the Introduction of War Time Rationing

This seems almost impossible to believe but it was only in 1954, the year that I was born that war time food rationing was officially ended.

It began in January 1940 when bacon, butter and sugar were rationed and this was followed soon after by meat, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, milk and canned fruit.  As the Second World War progressed, most kinds of food came to be rationed along with clothing and petrol.  My parents were issued with a ration card for me but never had to use it because it all stopped three weeks after I was born.

The very last food item to be released from the shackles of rationing was bananas, which for me is quite a significant fact.  Dad loved bananas and I could never quite understand why but I suppose he was only twenty-two in 1954 and hadn’t had the pleasure for fifteen years and in fact it is quite possible I suppose that he had never had a banana before in his life.

Bunch of Bananas

He liked all sorts of strange banana combinations, weirdest of all being banana sandwiches on brown bread with sugar, but he was also very fond of chopped bananas with custard.  Personally I’ve never been that keen on bananas at all but this rationing fact explains a lot about my dad’s unusual dietary preferences.  Once a week we all had to have bananas for a sweet until one day when I was about fifteen and at the height of my rebellious period I could take it no longer and I refused to eat them.  It was the only time I can remember him getting really upset with me but I stood my ground and after he had severely chastised me and refused to let me leave the table I think he ate them up for me.  Win/Win!

For Mum preparing food when things were not as available as they are today took up a lot of every day because there were no convenience meals and everything had to be prepared from scratch.

There was complete certainty about the menu because we generally had the same thing at the same time on the same day every week, there were no foreign foods, no pasta or curries and rice was only ever used in puddings.  The main meal of the week was Sunday dinner which was usually roast beef, pork or lamb (chicken was a rare treat and a turkey was only for Christmas) served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, which for some reason mum always called batter puddings, and strictly only seasonal vegetables because runner beans weren’t flown in from Kenya all year round as they are today.

We had never heard of chicken tandoori, paella or lasagne and the week had a predictable routine; Monday was the best of the left over meat served cold with potatoes and on Tuesday the tough bits were boiled up in a stew (we would call that bouef bourguignon now) and on Wednesday what was left was minced and cooked with onions and served with mash and in this way one good joint of meat provided four main meals with absolutely no waste.

Icelandic Fisherman

Thursday was my personal favourite, fried egg and chips and Friday was my nightmare day with liver or kidneys or sometimes faggots because I liked none of these (and still don’t!)  I complained so much about this that later I was allowed the concession of substituting sausage for liver but I was still obliged to have the gravy (which I didn’t care for much either) on the basis that ‘it was good for me!’

If we had been Catholics then we would have had fish I suppose but we didn’t have things out of the sea very often except for fish fingers (and most of which was in a fish finger had never been near the ocean) which were first introduced by Birds-eye in 1955.

On Saturday we would have something like a home made meat pie or pudding or very occasionally a special treat and dad would fetch fish and chips from the chip shop, wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper and covered in salt and vinegar.  Later on I used to have chips on a Wednesday night as well when David Newman’s dad picked us up after Wolf Cubs and took us home in the back of his battered blue van which I seem to remember smelt permanently of stale batter.

After main course there was always a second course which was usually something stodgy like a treacle pudding with golden syrup, spotted dick (suet pudding), bread and butter pudding or jam roll.

There was always lots of jam in our house because my Nan worked at the Robertson’s factory in Catford in London and I think she was either paid in jars of jam or bought it at a discount, I never knew which.

Every Picture Tells a Story – Benidorm c1960

“It was not only in Farol that brusque changes were taking place…they were happening at a breakneck pace all over Spain…. Roads, the radio, the telephone and now the arrival of tourists… were putting an end to the Spain of old.  And for those who wanted to see it as it had been, there was not a moment to be lost.”                                                                                                                                           Norman Lewis –  ‘Voices of the Old Sea’

In the first few years of the 1960s, in the days just before and then during the Freddie Laker days of early package holidays, my grandparents visited Benidorm in Spain several times.  For people from London who had lived through the Luftwaffe blitz of the 1940s and the killer smog of the 1950s they applied for passports (which was practically unheard of for ordinary people) and set out with pale complexions on an overseas adventure and returned home with healthy Mediterranean suntans and duty free alcohol and cigarettes.  They brought back exotic stories of exciting overseas adventures and suitcases full of unusual souvenirs, castanets, replica flamenco dancing girls, handsome matador dolls with flaming scarlet capes and velour covered bulls that decorated their living room and collected dust for the next twenty years or so.

In the photograph my grandparents Ernie and Olive were roughly the same age as I am now and they were clearly having a very good time sitting at a bar enjoying generous measures of alcohol, the same sort of good time that I like to enjoy when I go travelling.  I’m guessing of course but Grandad, who looks unusually bronzed, seems to have a rum and coke and Nan who looks younger than I can ever remember her appears to have some sort of a beer with a slice of lime and that’s about forty years before a bottle of Sol with a bit of citrus became anything like fashionable.  With him is his brother George (no socks, very impressive for 1960) and his wife Lillian. Nan and Grandad look very relaxed and with huge smiles that I can barely remember.  I wonder how they managed to be among the first early holidaymakers to visit Mediterranean Spain in the 1960s?

In 1950 a Russian émigré called Vladimir Raitz founded a travel company in London called Horizon Holidays and started flying people to Southern Europe and the package tour was born.  Within a few years he was flying to Majorca, Menorca, and the Costa Brava.   In 1957 British European Airways introduced a new route to Valencia and the designation ‘Costa Blanca’ was allegedly conceived as a promotional name when it first launched its new service on Vickers Vanguard airoplanes with four propeller driven engines at the start of the package holiday boom.   By the end of the decade BEA was also flying to Malaga on the Costa Del Sol.

The flight took several hours and arrival at Valencia airport some way to the west of the city was not the end of the journey because there was now a one hundred and fifty kilometre, four-hour bus ride south to Benidorm in a vehicle without air conditioning or air suspension seats and in the days before motorways on a long tortuous journey along the old coast road.  Today visitors to Benidorm fly to Alicante to the south, which is closer and more convenient, but the airport there was not opened until 1967.

I am curious to understand how they were able to afford it?  Grandad was a bus conductor with London Transport on the famous old bright red AEC Routemaster buses working at the Catford depot on Bromley Road (he always wore his watch with the face on the inside of his wrist so that he didn’t break the glass by knocking it as he went up and down the stairs and along the rows of seats with their metal frames) and Nan worked at the Robinson’s factory in Barmerston Road boiling fruit to make the jam.

I cannot imagine that they earned very much and at that time the cost of the fare was £38.80p which may not sound a lot now but to put that into some sort of perspective in 1960 my dad took a job at a salary of £815 a year so that fare would have been about two and a half weeks wages! Each!  The average weekly wage in the United Kingdom today is £490 so on that basis a flight to Spain at 1957 British European Airline prices would now be about £1,225.  After paying the rent on the first floor Catford apartment Grandad used to spend most of the rest of his wages on Embassy cigarettes, Watney’s Red Barrel and in the Bookies so perhaps he had a secret source of income?  He does look like a bit of a gangland boss in some of these pictures or perhaps he had a good system and had done rather well on the horses.

Benidorm developed as a tourist location because it enjoys a unique geographical position on the east coast of Spain.  The city faces due south and has two stunningly beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea that stretch for about four kilometres either side of the old town, on the east the Levante, or sunrise, and to the west the Poniente, the sunset, and it enjoys glorious sunshine all day long and for most of the year as well.  Today, Spain is a tourist superpower that attracts fifty-three million visitors a year to its beaches, 11% of the Spanish economy runs off of tourism and one in twenty visitors head for Benidorm.  The city is the high rise capital of Southern Europe and one of the most popular tourist locations in Europe and six million people go there each year on holiday.

Benidorm – The Anticipation

Benidorm 1977 – First impressions and the Hotel Don Juan

Benidorm 1977- Beaches, the Old Town and Peacock Island

Benidorm 1977 – Food Poisoning and Guadalest

World Heritage Sites

Thanks to http://www.realbenidorm.net/ for the use of the image

Every Picture Tells A Story – Barmeston Road, Catford

One day in 1999 I was at work and driving through London and on impulse took a detour to Catford and to Barmerston Road where my grandparents used to live to see the house that I used to visit with my parents when I was a child.  It was having a bit of work done to it at the time but it looked almost as I remembered it and the memories came flooding back.

Read the full story…