The Bisto Kids

Bisto RHM Workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RHM factory was an important  site to the Middlewich people. It had been Cerebos and Middlewich Salt  before that making the site over 100 years old and saw many generations  of families, being employed or enjoying the many social events the  company provided.

Middlewich was  relaunched in the sixties as the primary site of the new and modern  RHM Company; Prince Philip had an official visit here in 1969. Many  women were employed in the Bisto section of the factory, the laboratory  invented Bisto Granules, and Saxa Salt and Sifta Sam were packaged here. The company had a vacuum plant until the early seventies when it became  more cost effective to be supplied by neighbours and bsiness associates  British Salt, who is now our only salt company left.

One of the social aspects was the Bisto kids  look  a  like competition, this was a national event at one point raising  money for Children’s charities, (NCH), the overall winner got to meet  either the Queen or Princess Margaret, very much the highlight of the  year! 

The closing of the  factory was a blow to Middlewich and the generations of families who  worked there. As heritage officer I’ve been collecting photographs and  memorabilia of the site and the workers to preserve for future  generations. 

Premier foods  allowed us to take the last photographs of the factory just before it  closed in 2008. It was then that I and my colleague Dave Thompson saw  the Bisto Kids on the reception wall, upon enquiring about the sculpture  it turned out that it was scheduled for demolition!  Premier Foods were  contacted and they realised its importance for our community to save  it, so they donated the sculpture to the town if we could pay for its  removal. Thankfully local builder John Wickham and his associate Rob  Moreton were very keen to help us save the Bisto Kids and so we emarked  on a perilous journey of removing the Bisto kids from the RHM building  and finally placing it in Middlewich Library for dsplay. 

It was certainly a town effort,  although by the time we had got men in place and money, the site changed  hands from Premier Foods to Bovale, so we had to start permission  hunting to remove the Bisto kids for the second time! Bovale agreed to  let us take the sculpture and paid for its removal and the Town Council  paid to stabilise it and place a supprting frame around it. 

The hard work paid off once we  launched the sculpture, the public response was fantastic and our Youth  Theatre did a drama piece on the Bisto Kids for the Folk and Boat  Festival whee we put the Bisto Kids on display for the first time. We  heard a lot of people’s stories about the Bisto Factory and many  remembered the Kids with affection.

The Bisto Kids are now in their new home in Middlewich  Library and they are well worth seeing, the last remains of over 100  years of salt and food production.

Bisto Kids  Bisto Competition  creating the sculpture

Artcicle by Kerry Fletcher

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 14:08
 
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