Cat no. 1309

Nestles Rowntree

Colour Sound 1996 Norwich, Norfolk

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The closure of the Nestle Rowntree factory in Norwich


Industrial / Sponsored Film

The film begins with an aerial shot of Norwich showing St. Stephens Street. The camera pans to the Nestle factory on Chapelfield Road. The opening montage of shots shows traffic in the factory compound, interior shots of the warehouse and shots of machinery. Over shots of the factory production line making Yorkie bars, one of the workers recalls his earliest memories of the factory. He was born in Nicholas Street and remembers his brother taking him to see the factory after it was bombed in 1942. He was in charge of the Yorkie Department until 1985. The film shows women workers packing Yorkie bars and stamping on the 'best before' date. There are further shots showing the production of Rolo eggs. A female worker recalls her first day in the factory which was also her sixteenth birthday. Everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to her. Her parents, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins all worked at the factory. The film shows a shot of an empty corridor which fills with workers on their way to the canteen. A female worker from administration talks over shots of the canteen, the Employees Sales Shop and shots of the reception. She explains that she came to work in the factory in May, 1968 but hated it. She moved to the offices and is 'gutted' at the news of the closure. Back in the factory there are shots of the Caramac production line. John Welland, the USDAW convenor, explains that jobs are now rotated because of RSI. This is something he has been suggesting for years but for different reasons. He thought it a good idea to combat boredom. Andy Hill, a team leader for a production line that makes Munchies, talks about how he joined the company. He worked in hotels and had a job lined up in Tenerife. He needed a short term job - and never left. He is very proud of actually making something.

Background Information:

The company was founded as Caley's in 1857 on London Street, as a chemists. In 1963 the production of mineral waters began. In 1880 the business moved into an old cloth weaving factory on Chapel Field. In 1883 Caleys began to manufacture cocoa which led to the making of chocolate.The Caley family sold the business in 1918 to the African and Eastern Trade Company and survived the depression before being bought by the Mackintosh brothers in 1932. The factory was bombed during the blitz and remained in ruins for 10 years. It was re-opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1956. At its peak, the factory employed 2000 people.The last shift at Nestles, who had bought Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988, ended at 11am on the 29th November, 1996, two years after the closure was announced on November 17th, 1994. 300 jobs were lost. 900 had worked at the factory when Nestles announced the closure of the factory in 1994

Featured People:

Andy Hill, Nestle employee; John Welland, USDAW Convenor; Nestles Rowntree, Norwich, November 1995.

Featured Organisations:

Nestle Rowntree

Featured Buildings:

Nestles Rowntree Factory

East Anglian Film Archive

Roger Hewins

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