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NE day in the mid-1950s while working for J Lyons & Co Ltd in Cadby Hall in Hammersmith I was summoned by one of my directors and told that I had been transferred to a subsidiary company – Henry Telfer Ltd, in Lillie Road, Fulham, as assistant factory manager. Henry Telfer Thompson, a Scotsman by birth and recently returned from South Africa, had starting trading as a pie maker in 1926. The name they chose for their pies was Ticky Snacks; ‘Ticky’ being a South African slang for three pence. Lyons initially bought a share of the business in 1932 and later relocated Telfer’s to a former brewery in Lillie Road in 1934. Subsequently a Henry Telfer Pie shop was established on the corner of North End Road and Lillie Road. During the Second World War Telfer’s supplied many thousands of pies to the Navy, Army and RAF through the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes). Also during the latter part of the war, 1943 and 1945, the Ministry of Food arranged to allocate meat, flour and fat to the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service) through the Rural Pie Scheme, so that the WVS

could make and distribute pies in their local areas. A raw material permit transfer scheme was set up because this scheme was not always possible to put into operation. This enabled Telfer’s, and other pie makers, to made pies which the WVS then distributed. So great was the demand that Telfer’s had to start many more small pie factories in different parts of the country. Part of the production equipment was the Coyte automatic pie machine, which had been designed by William Coyte, the chief engineer of J Lyons. This was capable

Eyes on the pies


 Telfer’s in Lillie Road, s Fulham, had supplied pie ce to Buckingham Palace sin was 1949. In 1955 the firm as nt rra wa a th issued wi ‘purveyors of pork pies to HM Queen Elizabeth II’


of producing many hundreds of large and small individual steak and kidney pies per hour. When I arrived I found that most of the employees lived locally and many were related. There were husbands and wives, sons and daughters, whose parents were working in the factory, admin offices, transport department and driving delivery vans. Among the staff was a very formidable and efficient forewoman, Mrs Mattey, and her senior chargehand, Dolly Tibble. I think that there was also a foreman, Maurice Harnetty, who may well have been related to Mrs Mattey. Other names I recollect were Jim Hall, the flamboyant sales manager who had been a famous motorcycling champion, and Joyce Steadman, the personnel officer. It was very much a family concern. I wonder how many past employees of Henry Telfer Ltd are still living in the area? Outside the factory, adjoining the pavement in Lillie Road, was the Reject Shop. This small, temporary structure was where tasty, wholesome but misshapen

or damaged meat pies, Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and other factory products were sold, usually at half price. Very often long queues formed outside. Operating in a very competitive environment, very little was wasted. In 1953 J Lyons had introduced a new American product to the UK: the Wimpy hamburger. As the number of Wimpy Bars increased, Telfer’s became the main producer

of this product; this was followedup with another novel Wimpy product, the circular Frankfurter. Telfer’s had supplied pies to Buckingham Palace since 1949. In the early 1950s the firm considered applying for a Royal Warrant, for which the qualification was three years’ consecutive service. Unfortunately King George VI died suddenly and the whole application process had to start again. In 1955


YOUR MAGS Pages 68-69 NEWS Fred Marsh lookback NEW.indd 1

15/06/2012 14:38:44

Your magazine (summer 2012)  

Your magazine (summer 2012).

Your magazine (summer 2012)  

Your magazine (summer 2012).