Thursday, April 12, 2012

Biscuits 1929

The advert is for CWS biscuits available back in the 1920's when this Co-Op store opened. I've no evidence that the CWS was an innovative biscuit maker but rather it took established popular types and produced them for their members, the retail Co-Op Societies.

Some of these varieties are still available though no longer manufactured in co-operative factories. The legendary Crumpsall Cream Cracker has passed into memory but the original Jacob's is still a national treasure. Ireland's contribution to snack culture dating from 1885.

Ginger Nut (circa 1840 and I have a recipe for them in a walnut shape from 1852), Petit Beurre (1886 in Nantes, France), Osborne (Huntley & Palmer 1860) and Marie (Peak Freans 1874) are still with us. Teatime exists as a variety pack these days. Fairy Cakes (circa 1796) have recently morphed into the larger size more sugary topped Cup Cakes. Just what the country didn't need, a lack of portion control to replicate American obesity levels.

But what about the Royal George and the Royal Princess? Royalty names for biscuits and confectionery has always been a good marketing feature. For last year's royal wedding special tins by McVities were sold in stores. Same for the President, the intriguing Trevenna or the mysterious Devon Finger? They might still exist under a different name. For example the Gypsy Cream so beloved of script writers and the writer Alan Bennett, which is now the more politically correct Romany Cream.

Now I'm taking a guess here that these are packet biscuits. The M&SE Co-Op also sold loose biscuits at 11d per pound (about 4.5p for 453.5 gms) in 1929. In an advert in the December issue of the M&S Co-operative Herald the following varieties are listed :- Ceylon, Coconut King, Water, Almond Nuts, and Playtime.

East West Home's Best biscuit tin is in an art deco style from the CWS circa 1930. Advert is from The People's Year Book 1926 published by the CWS Manchester and the SCWS Glasgow - a volume of specific information prepared by the Co-Operative Press Agency. An annual first published in 1918.

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