The Sheffield-based company is about to celebrate its centenary this year and has been based on the same location in Hillsborough throughout, quietly creating a legacy of sustainable manufacturing that the city can be proud of.
Simpkins has been producing throat lozenges, glucose products and candy for the world since 1921 and shows no signs of slowing down.
The brother and sister, Adrian and Karen, are the third generation of the Simpkin family to run the business, alongside several other Sheffield families – mainly those living in Hillsborough – who over the years have seen from generation to generation. generation come to the factory.
“Over the generations we have seen grandma, daughter and granddaughters working here, so there has been a real lineage here,” Adrian said.
Simpkins makes the exact same products they did when the factory opened in 1921, even using some of the same machines, as well as many of the same hand-made techniques.
The company, which produces around five million candies every week, has survived a world war, countless recessions, and now a global pandemic, which has destroyed many of the industry’s giants and titans.
And the secret of their success?
Adrian says it’s just about having a great product and a dedicated workforce.
“We have ideas, but it’s only because of the quality of the workforce that we’re still here. From the boilers to the tinning lines, to the cleaners, it’s them that we continue to, ”Adrian mentioned.
Aside from a short-lived manufacturing facility in South Africa, every part of the Simpkins’ operation has been proudly carried out in Sheffield over the past century, and Adrian says they are “truly a Hillsborough company”.
He adds that the reason the operation in South Africa failed is that the process of creating their famous candies, using sugar, glucose syrup and water, is particularly “sensitive” which can be. “Affected by water hardness and air temperature”.
As a result, the company’s attempt to recreate the magic of the Simpkins overseas simply did not work.
So who knows, maybe Sheffield’s renowned water supply played a small role in the company’s success.
The company was founded by Adrian’s grandfather, Albert Leslie Simpkin, after returning from WWI.
Leslie, who bore his middle name like many men of his generation, was injured in the infamous battle for Serre sur la Somme which saw hundreds of Sheffield PALS colleagues killed.
Second Lieutenant Albert Leslie Simpkin returned to the trenches and was again wounded (and later awarded the Military Cross) while leading an attack on a machine gun post in 1918.
And the idea of the boiled candy came to him while he was being treated for shrapnel wounds.
Adrian said: “He released various shrapnel from his body. They used to give liquid glucose to the wounded, but it was liquid, so it went everywhere, and that’s where he got the idea to boil it instead.
Leslie used some of his World War I demob money to buy a Pitsmoor-based confectionery business, and eventually ended up marketing companies with another businessman operating on the same street who owned a store from boiling.
Concerns over her company’s ability to compete with fellow Sheffield pastry chef Bassett’s led Leslie to make the decision to make mostly candy, as well as glucose and methol drops, for chemists, a strategy that continues to serve Simpkins well today.
“Bassett had told him ‘it’s not worth it, if you clash you will lose.’ So he decided to mainly store chemists instead, and it grew considerably from there.
This growth led Leslie to purchase the Hunter Road plant that Simpkins still operates today. Adrian says the factory has been there for so long that the part of Hillsborough that surrounds it was built around …
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This notice was published: 2021-04-24 15:03:07