Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: January 29, 2021
Webpage updated: January 29, 2021




In 1915 the Plymouth Mutual Co-operative and Industrial Society opened a small Preserve Works next to the Laundry but accessed from what at that time was called Pennycross Lane, later Recreation Road.

This enterprise was successful and in 1919 it was necessary to erect buildings to the north of the Works to provide accommodation for the manager and his clerks and rooms for bottle washing and drying.  Alongside the new building was the boiler house and beside that were refuse areas for ashes and broken glass.

On February 9th 1920 the Society applied for permission to replace the above buildings with an even larger Preserve Works to the north adjoining Ham Lane.

As part of the Society's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the foundation stone of the new Preserve Works was laid by the Society's president, Mr J Hayne Pillar, at 11am on August 4th 1920.  The ceremony was preceded by a parade of charabancs, bread vans, milk vans, lorries and tractors, that started in two parts, one at Peverell and the other at North Quay, and which met at Saint Jude's Corner before touring the Three Towns via Ebrington Street, Old Town Street, Frankfort Street; Union Street, King's Road, Fore Street, Marlborough Street, Albert Road and Tavistock Road.  The Preserve Works was designed by Mr E Carwithen, the works manager.

Once at Peverell, Mr J H Welsford explained that the current premises had produced 97 tons of jams in 1916, valued at 5,000, but during 1919 the output had reached 720 tons, worth some 70,000, so it was necessary to provide a much larger factory.  Fruit preserving was not the only manufacturing being carried on in the building: they also made chocolates, jellies and confectionery.  Mr Welsford also revealed that the new factory was to be constructed by the Society's own Works Department.

During the first half of 1959 the Preserve Works was closed down with great reluctance following the decision to source all future products from the Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited.  It was the last such works in the country to be run by a local co-operative society.

On January 27th 1961 Plymouth City Council approved a change of use: the southern end of the building was to be transferred to the Traffic Department while the northern end became a depot for butchery small goods.