SIHG Home SERIAC List Societies 1992 1993 1994 Latest


South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference 1993

"Feeding the People"

Saturday 20 March 1993, hosted by BIAG

Berkshire College of Agriculture, Maidenhead

0945-1020 Registration and Coffee
                Chairman for Morning Session: J Kenneth Major
1020-1040 Welcome and Opening Remarks
1040-1130 The Place of Education in Changes in Agriculture Over the Last 100 Years - Neville Beynon
1135-1230 Farm Buildings and Industry in the 19th and 20th Centuries - Roy Brigden
                Lunch Break
                Chairman for Afternoon Session: Lawrence Cameron
1400-1450 To Market, to Market: Victorian Markets - David Perrett
1450-1540 Bread, Buns and Biscuits - Brian Boulter
1540-1610 Tea
1610-1700 The History of Simmonds of Reading - Ken Smith
1700-1715 Discussion and Closing Remarks
1800-1900 Visit to the Museum of English Rural Life

Synopses of Talks and Mini-Biographies of Speakers:

Ken Major
Ken Major is an active architect with a practice devoted to restoring old buildings such as barns, mills and timber framed buildings. His publications include "Fieldwork in Industrial Archaeology" and books on mills and animal-powered machinery.

Neville Beynon
Neville Beynon is Head of Business Centre at the Berkshire College of Agriculture, he is also Head of the Farms Faculty: After spending the early part of his career in the business of managing agriculture in the UK he spent 5 years in Germany in the agricultural business. During this time he worked for two multinational companies. Subsequently Neville Beynon turned to education. His initial work in this field was as deputy head of Agriculture at the Hampshire College of Agriculture near Winchester. During this time he has written books on Pig Production and Stockmanship.
The place of education in changes in agriculture over the past 100 years
The influence of education in changes in agriculture over the past 100 years has been marked by the growth of agricultural colleges and universities. Neville Beynon will give an account of the growth starting with the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester in the early 19th century. The influence of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and the government will be considered. The growth and decline of agriculture during the 19th century coincided with attempts to expand education. Levels of performance of the centres of education were questioned as efficient practices in agriculture were slow in coming through. Other factors may well have had a greater influence on the expansion or the decline in agriculture.

Roy Brigden
Roy Brigden is keeper the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University. He has a particular interest in the industrial archaeology of agriculture and has carried out extensive fieldwork throughout the country.
Farm buildings and industry in the 19th and 20th centuries
From the middle years of the nineteenth century, agriculture really began to regard itself as an industry and sought accordingly to organise its methods of production along industrial lines. In the 1950s and 60s in particular, new technology and new arrangements of "industrial" farm buildings were adopted with much optimistic fervour. Subsequent depressions dampened the enthusiasm but nevertheless the trend continued at a reduced level on into the twentieth century.

Lawrence Cameron
Lawrence Cameron started studying industrial archaeology with Edwin Course in the early 1960s. He has lectured on the subject in both Southampton and Reading. Lawrence's particular interest is in the field of transport and he is active in the preservation field.

David Perrett
Dr David Perrett is from Yorkshire but living in London where he is Reader in Analytical Biochemistry at the Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital, University of London. Therefore, Industrial Archaeology can only be considered his full time hobby. He has been a member of the GLIAS executive committee for over 16 years, represents GLIAS on the SERIAC organising committee and currently serves on the council of the AIA. Industrial archaeology interests are stationary steam engines, industrial housing in Yorkshire and London.

To Market, to Market: Victorian Markets
Almost every ancient town and City has a market place maybe with a butter cross or market hall being a focal point. Additionally in some towns, particularly London, such markets are supplemented by street markets. Even today many people prefer to buy and sell their goods in such markets.
With the birth of organised industries came the building of specialist trade halls such as cloth halls and corn markets from which the ordinary citizen was usually excluded. To encourage such centres of business for local industries, early Victorian municipal authorities funded the construction of wholesale markets. Markets such as Spitalfields (1893) and Billingsgate (1848) in London, were built as wholesale food markets not only to enable the corporation to regulate the trade and enforce new hygiene laws but also to make money. Often such markets were symbols of civic pride and exhibited high and adventurous engineering standards. Not all markets deal with foodstuffs others, known often as exchanges, were built to trade in a variety of goods ranging from hops to leather and even stocks. In London new hygiene regulations, especially from the EU inappropriate sites and changes in the nations shopping habits have meant that London's great markets are rapidly being replace. rebuilt and converted. Soon only Borough Market will remain relatively unchanged since Smithfield is being upgraded at this very moment.
In London, general public markets, often found in other big cities, were unsuccessful. Early attempts developed from arcades such as those still to be found around Piccadilly but such markets were more like twentieth century shopping malls. These markets such as the Hungerford Market at Charing Cross (demolished 1862) had relatively short lives.
Outside London. cities often have large and impressive central general markets with meaner wholesale markets. In such northern industrial cities as Leeds and Halifax impressive Victorian cast- iron market halls still provide cover to large and thriving general markets. Hopefully they will be allowed to survive the present onslaught of hygiene and health and safety regulations!

Brian Boulter
Brian Boulter, a member of BIAG, has spent many years as a food scientist in a major food group with interests in milling, bread and biscuits. He has the Certificate in Local History from Oxford University and is involved with the Berkshire Local History Association and Maidenhead Archaeological & Historical Society.

Bread, Buns and Biscuits
The technology of baking has evolved in parallel with the better-known developments in flour milling. Until the middle of the nineteenth century. bread. buns and biscuits were baked in batches in beehive ovens, pre-heated with brushwood, and the dough making process could take 24 hours. The invention of indirectly heated ovens, and subsequent travelling ovens, enabled production to become continuous. Mechanical mixing and the introduction of distillers yeast reduced fermenting time. Large firms were established, delivering bread and cakes to their own shops and those of the new grocery multiples. Reading biscuits achieved international fame. They were produced using machines designed and made locally. More recently, changes in eating habits as much as technological innovation have led to major changes in the baking industry.

Ken Smith
Ken Smith was born in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1955. He became interested in brewery history via his interest in photography. He set himself the impossible goal of recording all brewing sites in the UK, but failed! Ken is now the Photographic Archivist for the Brewery History Society as well as Editor of the quarterly Journal of Brewery History.

The History of Simonds of Reading
The history of H & G Simonds of Reading from its establishment in 1785 to 1960 will be described.
An examination of the characters of the Simonds family will illustrate some of the characters, especially F A Simonds.
There will be a photographic tour of the bottling hall in 1932. The overseas part of the business will be illustrated by a description of Simonds in Malta.
The family business ended with the "merger" with Courage in 1960.