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British Industrial History

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Samworth Brothers

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Samworth Brothers are a Leicestershire-based food manufacturer, the owner of Cornish pasty maker Ginsters, and the largest maker of certified Melton Mowbray pork pies.

George Samworth was born in 1868, and after joining a group of Birmingham-based pig buyers started his own pig dealing business in 1896. After his retirement in 1930, his sons Frank and George took over the business. The business collapsed in the period of meat rationing of World War II, but in 1950 Frank bought Nottingham based butchery and pie makers T. N. Parr.

1969, the company bought local Nottinghamshire rival Pork Farms from Willard Garfield Weston and Jai Law, which doubled the size of the business overnight. Frank decided to retire, leaving the business to his sons, with David as Chairman, while Frank Jr. and John Samworth were senior Directors.

1971 the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Pork Farms plc,

1972 bought rival Holland's Pies.

1974 Pork Farms and Northern Foods created a joint venture company Porkdown, to supply meat products to French foods group Danone. But immediately after production started, Danone undertook a group wide-review, and on deciding to concentrate on their milk products line, closed down the contract. The resultant losses closed Porkdown,

1978 This led to the agreed sale of Pork Farms to Northern Foods, after the Samworth family sold their shares[1]

Separately, in 1977, John Samworth had left the business after his purchase of the Ginsters Cornish pasties business from the Ginsters family, under his holding company Goran Foods.

1985 the name of the Goran Foods was changed to Samworth Brothers, to reflect the involvement of John and David Samworth.

1986 Samworth Brothers purchased Cobden Street, Leicester-based Walker and Son. Having sold their crisps business Walkers in 1971 to US-based Standard Brands, their pie making business was now the largest distributor of Melton Mowbray pork pies. This was added to in 1992 after the purchase of the fire-destroyed Melton Mowbray based pie maker Dickinson and Morris, which was refurbished in a traditional style.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, May 09, 1978