Category:Peek Freans Biscuits
Peek Freans was famous for its biscuits and snacks such as Garibaldi, Bourbon and Twiglets. It was founded in 1857 by James Peek, born in June 1800 in Dodbrook, Devon and George Hender Frean, born in 1824.
James Peek with his brothers Richard and William set up tea company, Peek Brothers and Co in London in 1821 and received much success. Peek married Elizabeth Masters in 1824 and by 1857 they had 8 children. However, two of his sons were not interested in the tea business, so Peek decided to start a biscuit enterprise for them to run. Peek’s niece, Hannah Peek, was married to George Hender Frean, a miller and ship’s biscuit maker in Devon. Peek asked Frean if he would manage the business (as his sons were still young) and the two became co-partners. A factory was established in 1857 at Dockhead, London, however both the sons left within 3 years. Needing replacements for the boys, Frean invited his school friend, John Carr, of the Scottish biscuit makers to manage the business. Carr joined in 1860 and brought with him Quaker principles about the importance honesty and fairness for workers, a belief which stayed with the company for a long time.
Late 19th century
James Peek left the company in 1866 and Frean hired his son-in-law, Thomas Stone to replace him. In this year the company also moved to a new factory in Bermondsey, London, while keeping the Dockhead factory open. In the early 1870s, Peek Freans supplied the French government with 460 tons of ship biscuits (11 million biscuits) for the Franco-Prussian war and also supplied flour to Paris. The Dockhead factory was devastated by fire In April 1873 the, causing all production and workers to be transferred to Bermondsey. Bermondsey had become known as ‘Biscuit town’ and the factory had its own fire brigade, medics, dentists and post service. Frean retired in 1887 and in 1901 the company was made into a limited company. James Peek’s great-nephew became the first chairman, but his death in 1904 ended all Peek or Frean family involvement in the company. The Carr family however, stayed involved.
Throughout the 1900s multiple new worldwide factories were opened. The first of these in Dum Dum, Calcutta, India came about by the acquisition of The Britannia Biscuit Company Limited in India. A purpose built factory was set up by Richard Carr in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia in 1935 and a factory in Toronto, Canada was set up by Rupert Carr in 1949.
Merging and closing
Peek Freans merged with Huntley and Palmers Biscuits and others in 1969 to make Associated Biscuit Manufacturers Ltd.. An American firm, RJR Nabisco bought Associated Biscuits in 1987. Nabisco was in turn bought by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1988, which split up Associated Biscuits, selling Peek Freans’ UK operations to Danome and North American operations to Kraft. The UK operations and the Bermondsey factory were closed in 1989.
- "The Biscuit Factory: A very mini history" - includes a film of the biscuit making process (archclimbingwall.com)
- Peek Freans Biscuit Factory London (www.yelp.co.uk)
- "Records of Peek Frean" - A brief description of Peek Freans and a list of the Peek Freans collection at Reading University (reading.ac.uk)
- "George Frean" - A Peek/Frean family tree and some other information and photos about the familiy (freshford.com)
- "Peek Freans" - Peek Frean's current website for the U.S/Canada, includes a timeline of their history (peekfreans.com)
- "Peek Freans" - A history and timeline of Peek Freans (cooksinfo.com)
- "A Peek at Peek Freans" - A Word document history of Peek Freans (google.co.uk)(msdm.org.uk)
- "The Kitchen Thinker: Garibaldi biscuits" - An article about Garibaldi biscuits (telegraph.co.uk)