HISTORY OF TWEEDY OF BURNLEY
George Tweedy & Co. was founded in 1865 in Burnley as general engineers. The company name was later changed to Tweedy of Burnley.
When the BBRA introduced the Chorleywood Bread Process in 1961, (See History of Baker Perkins in the Bread Business - The Chorleywood Bread Process), Tweedy developed a relevant High energy vacuum mixer which, when the Process entered widespread use in 1965, became the preferred mixer for plant bakers around the world.
In 1968 Tweedy was sold to Ward Foods, USA, who also owned British Arkady.
Tweedy was also involved in the supply of flour handling systems and dough mixers for in-store bakeries, moulder-panners for plant bakers and in 1974 a vacuum cooling system with applications in the food industry mainly outside the bread sector.
In the early 1980s, Tweedy was appointed manufacturing and sales agents for Lanham Machinery Co. Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, USA and thus came into direct competition for large plant bakery equipment with the bakery machinery division of Baker Perkins Ltd. At the same time, it became exclusive agents for a European supplier of dough make-up plant.
Lanham was acquired by APV in 1989 and Tweedy was purchased in the same year, in part to ensure access to the Lanham market outside the USA. By then, APV Baker (formerly Baker Perkins Ltd) had developed its own range of high-energy mixers.
In 1992, the Tweedy design, marketing, sales, project management and service operation at Burnley was relocated to another site in Simonstone, Burnley. In 1993 these offices were closed and the operation was absorbed into the bakery business of APV Baker at Paston, Peterborough. Some personnel relocated to Peterborough, others remained home-based at Burnley.
We were contacted by Richard Bertwistle, who told us this:
"I read with interest the section of your website that deals with George Tweedy of Burnley. My father Alex Bertwistle was a friend of the Chief Engineer at George Tweedy. Their prototype 'Tweedy Mixer' was trialled at our bakery R.A.Bertwistle & Son of Padiham, Lancashire, just a mile or so from Tweedy's factory in the early 1960s. Dad was so impressed with the mixer that he immediately ordered one and was thus the first baker to own and use one. The beauty of the mixer was that it allowed him to create small batches of different doughs. At a time when mass produced white sliced bread was marketed to British consumers, dad diversified into organic wholemeal bread and became one of Allinsons the flour millers main customers, selling to the niche 'health food' shops around Lancashire.
Tweedy went on to use dad's bakery as a place to demonstrate their machine and the Chorleywood process to other potential customers. The attached photo shows a representative of George Tweedy demonstrating to a gentleman who has flown over from Japan with a view to buying a mixer. His face gives nothing away as he inspects the dough!"
The bakery and shop was in the family from 1884 to 1982. Dad sold the business when this son went into teaching.
It is still there. The new owner and subsequent ones have kept the name. I'm not sure the whether the original mixer is still there, however.
The mixer did have another use. As a ten year old boy it was great fun sitting on the lid when it was going at full speed!
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