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Author Topic: When I was a nipper in the 60s we used to scoff Nielsen's Ice Cream. What became  (Read 7832 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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When I was a nipper in the 60s we used to scoff Nielsen's Ice Cream. What became of
this brilliant Canadian ice cream?
 
I remember my brother and I starting at opposite ends of a two-pint carton of their brilliant Maple
Ice Cream, each armed with a large spoon and racing to the middle.

Blinding 'ice cream headaches' didn't slow us down, let alone stop us.

Then Nielsen's just vanished just as swiftly as it had appeared on the scene.

I remember they had a factory or a depot near the canal at Camden Lock in North London.

Do they still exist? What happened?
"I live in hope"

Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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The company has changed ownership a few times since you were a lad. However, they no longer make any ice cream.

In the period between the world wars, Neilson’s was the largest manufacturer of ice cream in the British Empire and the largest manufacturer of chocolate in Canada. Innovations such as mechanical refrigeration, automatic chocolate wrapping, a continuous freezing system for ice cream, piped chocolate and plant expansion helped company grow throughout the 1930s and 40s.

However, in 1947, the company was purchased by George Weston Ltd. They later acquired the licence to produce Häagen-Dazs ice cream in Canada (probably when their own brand vanished from shelves) and in October 1990, the ice cream side of the business was sold to Ault Foods Limited. (Ault itself was acquired by Parmalat in 1997). In 1996, George Weston Ltd. sold the chocolate business Cadbury Schweppes Plc, and the company name was changed to Cadbury Chocolate Canada Inc. Cadbury operations still continue in the original Neilson plant in Toronto.

The final part of the Neilson empire, the dairy business was sold by George Weston Limited to Saputo in 2008.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neilson_Dairy


Simant Westley

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My dad was factory production manager at Neilson's Ice-cream Factory in Gypsy Hill, West Norwood, and they all were extremely proud of making the best icecream in the UK at the time - supplying Fortnum and Masons, etc, as well as lots of icecream vans. I used to go to work with dad on Saturdays sometimes, aged 5-7 in 1957-59, when we lived nearby, and be left in his office, watching him through a window while he checked out the production line in a white lab coat and hat. He was fanatic about hygiene - which you had to be in the 1950s. Whenever there were tummy bugs about in London, we had to soak our hands in bowls of disinfectant each time we used the toilet, or went into the bathroom.

He liked to be there for the end/start of each shift - so in school holidays, whenever the weather was good, we saw very little of him, as production would go to three shifts, 7 days a week. I saw my first control charts in that office - funny that the same quality controls did not hit the NHS until the late 1990s. That factory was in an old bus or tram depot, but had an international reputation for it's efficient layout. A lot can go wrong if food production has to go through too many bends, or areas where it is difficult to keep the temperature right or bugs out.  Neilson's were famous for bringing Dairy Icecream out of Cornwall, and won many awards at the annual Royal Dairy Show - Dad crowned the Dairy Queen a couple of times.

In 1963, Neilsons in the UK (still then part of the Westons Group) was taken over by Lyons Maid, who moved Neilson's production to their main factory in Greenford, Middlesex, where they quickly changed recipes, production techniques, etc.  Dad left a few years on for a new icecream adventure. He stayed in different aspects of international icecream production until 5 weeks before he died aged 83 in 2008. Having started at 12 in his dad's icecream co (Greentrees, Romford), he'd worked for 71 years in icecream.

Offline P-Kasso2

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Hi Simant, and thanks...Nice answer and glad to get the blanks about Nielsens filled in. Your father's 71 years in ice cream sounds like a kid's dream come true!
"I live in hope"

Sue

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Neilsons was sold to Lyons in 1962/3 by Canadian owner Garfield Weston as the business was not profitable enough.

Offline P-Kasso2

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Thank you Sue...your answer brought my old question back to life having languished in I.A's lumber room since January last year.

And I read Simant Westley's answer again (scroll two down) and there are some extra memories his answer brought roaring back....

Where he writes "My dad was factory production manager at Neilson's Ice-cream Factory in Gypsy Hill, West Norwood..." ... I used to live in West Norwood (in South London between Dulwich and Brixton and just up the road from Tulse Hill in South London).

I grew up there and my family only moved out in late 1958!

Even more of a coincidence, where he writes "That factory was in an old bus or tram depot, but had an international reputation for it's efficient layout." Jeez do I know that cavernous tram depot! Fond memories.

When my dad came back from World War 2 he got a job there as a tram driver and that was heaven for a kid having a tram driver dad because it meant I got to ride everywhere free and go into that massive depot...the building is still there as far as I know but I've no idea what it became after Neilsen's Ice Cream Factory moved out.

« Last Edit: 24 March, 2014, 06:21:45 PM by P-Kasso2 »
"I live in hope"

Maz

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Hi
I remember watching the Neilson TV advert on our tiny television in the early 1950s. I would love to find a copy of it.
Anyone know who the actors were?

Offline P-Kasso2

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I can't recall any Nielsen TV ads myself but I've had a swift google or three and I drew a total blank.

I kept getting either ads for Nielsen's Frozen Custard (sounds very scoffable. Same firm?) or Nielsen's, the media rating agency.

Not much use at all. Sorry, Maz. Maybe another digger on IA will have more luck.
"I live in hope"

imfeduptoo

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Hi
I remember watching the Neilson TV advert on our tiny television in the early 1950s. I would love to find a copy of it.
Anyone know who the actors were?

There's one here - I don't know if  it's the one you were thinking of.
I don't know who the actors were.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WVJoICPjbY

I typed in Neilson's adverts to get this but have just realised that it doesn't actually mention that name in the advert. I've no idea whose ice cream it is.
« Last Edit: 19 June, 2014, 01:06:37 PM by imfeduptoo »

Rachel Mulligan

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My mum selling Neilson's ice cream in Richmond

ceemjay

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Did she work in a shop or just sold ice-cream in Richmond.  Laurie Krieger used to have a shop in Twickenham from where he ran a fleet of tricycles and vans selling ice-cream. My dad worked for him and came home one day in a Nielson's ice cream van - much to my great delight. He then went on to start Harlequin record stores which were later bought out by Our Price


john

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I live in Colchester, when I was young we a van came round each week selling Nielsens ice cream. Certainly the best at the time and all the flavours you could dream of.


Offline P-Kasso2

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My mum selling Neilson's ice cream in Richmond

You were so lucky, Rachel! A lovely mum and an endless supply of Nielsen's ice cream. What a childhood dream!
"I live in hope"

Roger Starkey

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Hi,
When I was young, we lived in Landsowne Hill West Norwood (SE27)
My father worked at Nielson's in the early 60's. He would bring a tub of vanilla ice cream home on a Friday. The height of luxury!
My recollection was that the factory was off Norwood High Street, rather than Gypsy Hill.
I believe you could see part of the factory from our back garden. (Now confirmed!)

I think that is now a B&Q.
I know he had moved to another job by 1965, so that fits with the closure mentioned.
Hope this is useful.
I found an excerpt from the BNP archives confirming the factory address as Lansdowne Hill!
,.............
Michael Holiday, Old Compton Street. Soho, fell 13 ft. through the glass roof of Neilson's ice cream factory, Lansdowne Hill, West Norwood. on Saturday night. Mr. Holiday, an ex-policeman, was taken to King's College Hos. pital, Camberwell, with head ...

Published: Friday 21 September 1962
Newspaper: Norwood News
County: London, England

Offline P-Kasso2

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Nice to see this question still rolling on! And thanks for your answer Roger. We used to live in Rosendale Road opposite Brockwell Park. Small worlds eh?
"I live in hope"