Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory

Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory

The location of the old sweet smelling biscuit factory!

Location: 100 Clements Road, Bermondsey, London, SE16 4DG

Description: James Peek and George Hender Frean founded the company at Dockhead in 1857. Nine years later they moved to Clements Road where the factory remained until 1989.

Built in 1866, Peek Frean and Co's biscuit factory gave Bermondsey the nickname 'Biscuit Town' for popular creations that included the bourbon and the Garibaldi. It employed generations of local residents.

A Southwark resident who voted for a blue plaque, said: Peek Freans was on my way to school - each morning, walking along Drummond Road, it would be a guessing game. What was being made today? Sweet or savoury? In summer the doors of the factory would be open and you could see the people in white aprons packing the biscuits. The sight, the sound and the smell, it was Bermondsey!

The Peek Frean and Co biscuit factory provided Bermondsey and Rotherhithe with a major source of employment until it closed in 1989 and for decades the area was known as Biscuit Town.

James Peek and George Hender Frean built the factory in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 brought the company to prominence, when ten million fine navy biscuits were ordered for the troops. Celebrated lines invented by Peek Freans include the Garibaldi (1861), Marie (1875), Chocolate Table (the first chocolate coated biscuit in 1899) and the Bourbon (1910). With the cocktail age came Cheeselets and Twiglets in the 1930s.

The company pioneered the supply of medical, dental and optical services to their staff as well as founding clubs ranging from athletics and cricket to music and drama. Staff magazines including The Biscuit Box and PF Assorted also brought together a workforce which numbered 4,000 by the 1940s.

Peek Freans biscuits can still be purchased in the United States and Canada (see the link). Odd fact: The Peek Frean factory in Toronto is located in Bermondsey Road.

It's also the factory that invented the Twiglet!

Themes: FoodFood Theme  IndustryIndustry Theme
Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory

The location of the old sweet smelling biscuit factory!

Ranking This Month: 17/3067

Pages Hit This Month: 170


Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory

26» My mother Sheila Trottier nee Dill work circa 1966-1968 at Peeks on the night line packing.She lived Guinness Trust in Pages Walk S E 1..Always smelt of biscuits when she came home found memories (Michael Trottier)
Posted by Michael Trottier on 2012-02-07
Posted by DAVID CARTER on 2012-01-22
24» I worked at Peek Freans from 1974 to 1980 firstly as a cutter boy and the a one of the biscuit bakers, i wonder if there are still EX staff who remember that time it was one of he best jobs I had also I met my wife Jackie there and we are still together today. I was surprised to see the factory is still there in some form as business unit and it is now called Biscuit Factory Business park. Happy Memories (Tony Smith)
Posted by Tony Smith on 2011-03-25
23» Is there a Tony Freans,who may have know a Daphne Chapman around 1955/56,she lived in Mersham Ashford Kent. (Rose Hollands)
Posted by Rose Hollands on 2011-02-12
22» my grandfather james campbell worked there in the 70s and 80s until the take over when he had to take early retirment due to illness... just wondered if anyone that he worked with is still alive. he lived in bermondsey and then moved to abbey wood. (paul campbell)
Posted by paul campbell on 2011-01-20
21» I began working as an office junior in the Overseas Sale Promotiion office at Peek Freans in 1957 straight from school. They sent me to Pitmans College to learn shorthand and I gradually moved up to be secretary to the manager. I met my husband Colin there in 1959, he worked in the laboratory. We were married in 1962 and had a Peek Frean wedding cake. We celebrate our Golden Wedding next year. Thank you Peek Freans! (Anne Edwards (nee Bullion))
Posted by Anne Edwards (nee Bullion) on 2010-12-12
20» My family on my fathers side has managed the factory in Bermondsey from 1860 through to 1989. When the american company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts which had bought RJR Nabisco for £31.1BN then sold off the assets in a move which is known as Asset Stripping. The Peek Frean inheritence Money is in america, in some shareholders bank account. Same thing will happen to Cadburys (Fergus Carr)
Posted by Fergus Carr on 2010-05-04
19» My father Barnett (Barney) Herman worked at Peek Freens first as a drivers mate then as a driver in 1925/30s does anyone have any pics of staff or vehicles please. Also is there anything published in the history of the company. Many thanks Mike Harman, dad changed his name to Harman (Michael Harman)
Posted by Michael Harman on 2010-04-12
18» During 1956 I used to pick up used computer punch cards from the factory. These were then recycled in to new punch cards. I also used to collect their waste paper for recycling. The broken biscuit shop was always worth a visit. I was 17 years old at the time. How time flies! (Peter Sisman)
Posted by Peter Sisman on 2009-12-15
17» During my tour of duty in Viet Nam, a great aunt of mine sent me a tin of Peek and Freans biscuits for Thanksgiving. Our mail chopper was shot up and my package arrived with several bullet holes in it. On a lark, I wrote Peek and Frean to say the cookies were great but the box was not bullet proof. On December 8, 1967, I receieved the following correspondence from a Mr. Gordon E. Haddock,"We are glad to that you enjoyed the contents of this box even though it transpired that neither the box or the biscuits were found to be bullet proof! Trusting you will enjoy the contents of the tin of Peek, Frean biscuits we are sending you today, even if not exactly bullet-proof, deflection may occur that little bit easier." This box arrived safe and sound and were greatly enjoyed by all of my squad. (Staff Sgt .Bob Flaige, Jacksonville Fla)
Posted by Staff Sgt .Bob Flaige, Jacksonville Fla on 2009-10-14
16» Peek Frean was well-known on the Dartford train lines in London because you passed by the factory which had 2 dates on it - one was 1857, the other the current year. On New Years Eve people looked for the year to change. A bit tragic now, but changing dates were quite tekkie in the 1960s. (Anonymous)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-01
15» Hello, My Uncle whom I never knew, worked at Peak Freans Bermondsey until his death at 22 years of age, in 1927. He was a Salesman and I have heard, played the violin in his leisure time. Does anyone know of any staff lists out there?. My Uncle was Cornelius Ward. Regards Brian (Brian Ward)
Posted by Brian Ward on 2009-08-30
14» peek freans is also in pakistan as one of the major biscuit manufacturers (asima)
Posted by asima on 2009-07-04
13» Hi My Nanna Dads mum was a Frean Daughter she was a bit rebellious apparently and was rejected by her family I believe her sisters & possible brother ended up Nuns & a priest felt sad for my Nan who had a very difficult life after leaving her husband (Jack Doyle)and having 3 more children Laurie, Sid & Sophie laurie was my Dad at the age of 32 he had 8 children unfortunately was killed at the same age on the way home from work in Maldon Victoria sadley after many years I`m unsure if he even knew who his dad was I would like to believe he did so at a very small chance this might shed some light on the matter Cheers (ken)
Posted by ken on 2009-03-02
12» For further information on Peek Frean why not visit the Pumphouse Educational Museum in Rotherhithe that holds the only exhibition of Peek Frean & Co Ltd including the wedding cake made for Queen Elizabeth 11. If you or your family worked there, there is a regular monthly club for ex-employees on the first Friday of every month from 14.00 - 17.00. Refreshment provided. For further information: (C.Marais)
Posted by C.Marais on 2009-03-01
11» I have just been to Canada to visit my son who was ill, and as a diabetic was delighted to find that Peek Frean have a wonderful range of cookies that are made without sugar. I was searching online to see if I can obtain in UK and found that PK are no longer in existence! Quite a shock for me really. I wonder if you know how I could obtain supplies of the Canadian Cookies? (K Miller)
Posted by K Miller on 2009-02-14
10» hello i am researching my family tree and have found out that one of my relatives worked at peaks his name was thomas james mildenhall.If anyone can help me with my search i would be very grateful. (julie fleming)
Posted by julie fleming on 2008-11-19
Hi! I live in Holland (Zoetermeer) and my family name is Peek. Isnt that funny? Maybe we are related. Love, Marian (Marian)
Posted by Marian on 2008-05-30
My dad started work at Peak Freans at the age of 14, he worked there until he retired, apart from a short time when he was called up for the war. His name was Walter (Wally) HAMILTON, and he was the chief essence maker - he used to come home smelling of vanilla, or strawberry, his essence room was directly under the clock tower. Is there anyone out there who remembers him? There was a man who worked there with my dad, before he became famous as WEE WILLIE HARRIS, he used to sing to my dad, while travelling in the lifts! I have an old photo of my mum and the rest of the women who worked in the packing shop, if anyone would like to see it. (Margaret Reeve)
Posted by Margaret Reeve on 2008-04-28
would someone be kind enough to tell me the current state of the former PEEK FREAN BISCUIT FACTORY, has it been demolished or will it be preserved? How large was the factory and how many floors did it contain? many thanks mark (mark)
Posted by mark on 2008-02-04
I am trying to locate the source of peak freans mincemeat and xmas puddings. can anyone help? I live in the prairies and there is not much available here. Many thanks. vjh (v.j. heard)
Posted by v.j. heard on 2008-01-22
Ref. To Theresa Hayden whose husband is a direct decendant of Mary Peek. Mary Thomas (nee Peek) was my great-great grandmother, she arrived in Australia in 1848. Her father was James Peek, mother Elizabeth. (Dianne MacLean)
Posted by Dianne MacLean on 2007-12-30
Did you know that Mr George Hender Frean was born in Plymouth, Devon, where his father was a corn miller at the old Drakes Mill? The mill burned down in 1868 and the current Sherwell Chapel stands on the site. (Brian Moseley)
Posted by Brian Moseley on 2007-11-08
Hello, if anyone could help me? My husband is a direct decendant of Mary Peak and there is an inheritence but we dont know who to contact. (Theresa Hayden)
Posted by Theresa Hayden on 2007-08-18
Where can we buy your products especially your peak frean cookies, thank you (carolyne marrs)
Posted by carolyne marrs on 2007-06-25
I am trying to find the name of the Peak Frean cookie sold in the 1950s and 60s. It was a waffer with a caramel centre, and it was wonderful. I havent seen them for years, but I do remember them. Can you tell me what they were called? Thank you R.Coppin (Ruth Coppin)
Posted by Ruth Coppin on 2007-05-31

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