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British Sugar plc Spalding 1925 – 1994 – Origins

In Memory of Spalding Factory

The place and some of the people.

Spalding was originally built in 1925 as the third Anglo-Scottish Beet Sugar Corporation factory; the first factory being Colwick (Nottingham) and the second Kidderminster. Subsequently three more Anglo-Scottish factories were built:- Cupar, Felsted and Poppleton (York).
Spalding was originally designed to process 500 tons/day of beet, and in its first campaign of 1926/27 it sliced a total of 50,000 tons of beet.
For Spalding’s second campaign of 1927/28 its capacity was increased to 1,000 tons of beet/day and it in fact averaged 772 tons of beet/day.
By 1930/31 Spalding was the largest factory in the group, processing some 150,000 tons of beet/campaign.
In 1934/35, Spalding had a very long campaign of 140 days, with 235,400 tons of beet processed.
In 1936 Spalding became part of the newly formed British Sugar Corporation.
An interesting off-seasonal operation carried out in 1948 was the slicing and drying of some 235,000 tons of potatoes, subsequently bagged.
In the mid-sixties a large scale reconstruction of the factory took place, bringing its capacity up to 4,500 tons/day average slice.
By the end of its operational life in 1988/89, further improvements had brought its performance up to a peak of:-
594,000 tonnes of beet processed at an average of 5,029 tonnes/day.
Sugar production of 86,209 tonnes in total, at an average of 729 tonnes/day.
Total dried animal feed production of 50,876 tonnes, at an average of 430 tonnes/day.
Closure of the manufacturing unit was on the 3rd February 1989, and total closure of the site in October 1994.

P L Griffiths
Factory Manager, King’s Lynn and Spalding
Many thanks to David Pell, Rob Lyon and Colin Cropley in compiling this historical album.

Note: on links to read more.

Vistor comments

6 Responses

  1. Oh, what a lovely site to have found. I dropped into Spalding factory once, just for the four months, and ten years later I was allowed to go with someone else from the lab., every Saturday afternoon, to take the air pressure measurement ( I think it was ) at the tops of the four silos, in that white whispering fairyland above the silos. We went outside at the top of no. 4, to look out at the fens.

  2. Great days my regards to all my old work colleagues.
    Love to have been in the photos.

  3. I worked at Spalding Sugar Factory after University in 1987 and 1988 and left after the campaign in 1988 to take up a Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education at Nottingham University. I remember working with some real characters, and working one Christmas and New Year period on a triple above standard rate of pay, which was excellent for someone who had just left University at 21!

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