Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bowyers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, manufacturer of meat products including sausages

In 1805, Abraham Bowyer set up a grocers shop in Trowbridge. He became well known for his meat products, and particularly his sausages. As his business developed, Bowyer began to specialise in meat products.

Merged with Wiltshire Bacon in Chippenham and Calne and Harris in Calne, Bowyers became part of the Marsh Bodiner Group. This allowed a capital injection, which resulted in the companies move into Innox Mill, Trowbridge in 1954.

Acquired by Unilever

1985 Acquired by Northern Foods[1]

1990 Merged with Palethorpes of Market Drayton and Pork Farms of Nottingham into new company Pork Farms Bowyers.

In 2001, the Bowyers and Palethorpes pork sausage business and brands were sold to Kerry Group, to allow the company to concentrate on baked meat products.

The company was bought by Vision Capital in 2007, as part of a £160 million divestment by Northern Foods. With European Union laws focusing on the statutory need to produce Melton Mowbray Pork Pies within a defined distance of Melton Mowbray, the company chose to close the Bowyers plant with the loss of 400 jobs, and invest £12 million into the Nottingham plant to increase Melton Mowbray Pork Pie production. Some workers were subsequently offered jobs in the Pork Farms plant at Shaftesbury.

The residual site at Innox Mill was proposed to be sold to Wiltshire College to develop a new campus, with retention of the Grade 2 listed mill, and demolition of the 1950s industrial development. But these plans were dropped in December 2009, leaving the site with an uncertain future.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jun 15, 1985