Made in Yorkshire! It has been said that ‘there’s no such thing as perfection… but if it’s from Yorkshire, it’s pretty close’. Well some things are so close to perfection, that they go on to become household names all around Britain, and even the World. Over the coming months, guest contributor John Scott, will be delving into the back stories of some of those great Yorkshire names – finding out about the people behind the companies, their humble beginnings, how they became household names, and where they are now.
As we work our way through the series, we will learn about some of the biggest names on every high street and in every retail park across the country. How did a group of dairy farmers become one of ‘the big four’ supermarkets? Why did a small mill in the heart of Brontë Country spawn a chain of soft furnishings shops, whilst other larger and more successful mills in the big towns and cities went into decline? How did the disappearance of a hatter in Bradford lead to one of the most successful chains of British menswear outlets?
Food has always been important in Yorkshire (think of Sundays without Yorkshire pudding), so we shall also be looking at some of our top food and drink manufacturers. Could you imagine a night out in the pub without a packet of nuts? What would you do at Christmas without a tin of Quality Street or a Chocolate Orange to nibble on while you watch the big movie? What would Wallace and Gromitt have on their crackers if it wasn’t for a small farm near Hawes?
The modern culture of ‘Health and Safety‘ comes as no surprise to us Yorkshire folk. We’ve always looked after ourselves, and others. Long before the modern fad for health supplements, we had our cod liver oil. Imagine what first aid kits would be like if we didn’t have sticking plasters. Think of the countless lives saved on roads all around the world, thanks to a device made from a couple of glass beads and a bit of rubber, and produced in the Calder Valley.
Yorkshire has given the world some of the biggest names in film, music, art and showbiz. We’ll tell you of one of the pioneers of early film, still known today for their saucy postcards. We’ll also tell you the story of an Irish immigrant whose family have become synonymous with seaside amusement arcades, and in the 1960s brought a little slice of Las Vegas to a small Yorkshire mill town.
Other questions we will look to answer include – how is a Yorkshire company important in making sure every New Year’s Eve or Guy Fawkes’ Night celebration goes off with a bang? How did a 19th century foundry in Huddersfield give us one of James Bond’s major icons? Which animal appears in famous churches and cathedrals around the country, thanks to a Yorkshire wood carver. And, what is it about Yorkshire made cutlery that sets it above all others?
As we go along, through the weeks, we will learn the answers to all these questions and many more. In the first of our series, we will look at one of Yorkshire’s biggest companies – ASDA. Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments below each post, and leave any suggestions for future posts.
This series is written by blogger, John Scott. John has been writing since he was a child and professionally for the past few years; he is currently studying English Language & Creative Writing with the Open University. You can search for ‘JohnScottWriter’ on most social networks, and you can visit John’s website at www.johnscottwriter.co.uk to read a selection of his short stories, poems, reviews and blog posts on various topics.
Please let us know your thoughts / feedback in the comment section below!