By Oliver Rogers
Peter Wilkin marked 125 years of jam making in Tiptree
Wilkin and Sons Ltd have celebrated a milestone of 125 years of jam making at their factory in Tiptree.
A special cake was produced depicting Arthur Charles Wilkin, who first made jam in the town on 25, June 1885.
Current Chairman and great grandson of the founder, Peter Wilkin cut the cake and marked the occasion with a speech.
Mr Wilkin said: "My great-grandfather started the company originally in 1885 and it gives me great pleasure to cut this cake in celebration."
Joint-managing director, Ian Thurgood, said it was a great occasion.
"There cannot be many companies that live to be 125 years and are still successful at the end of it," he said.
Arthur Charles Wilkin founded the company in 1885
The Tiptree-based company exports to 70 countries around the globe and turnover in 2008 was over £24 million.
"The very first
went to Australia, so I don't think we should be surprised that we are exporting all over the world," he added.
The idea to produce fruit conserves came from an unlikely source,
Number 10 Downing Street.
"Arthur Charles had been growing fruit and been sending it to London, and by the time it got there it was in a poor condition," said Mr Thurgood.
"He read something by William Gladstone, who was Prime Minister, and he recommended producing jam as people would be able to get vitamin-C all-year round," he said.
"There have been good times and bad times since he took that decision to have a go at producing jam," said Mr Thurgood.
"Some of the first batches of jam were sent to
and he wrote back, with his letter on display in the museum here," added Mr Thurgood.
The company has held a royal warrant for preserves and marmalades since 1911.
The link with the original founder is still embedded in the company through the Chairman, Peter Wilkin being the great-grandson of Arthur Charles Wilkin.
"It is a nice thing about family businesses and with Peter Wilkin being here we all feel a responsibility that we have to keep up the standards," said Ian Thurgood.