On Tuesday, 27 March 2018, nine members and a guest visited the City Hall to see an exhibition on Jacob’s Biscuit Factory. It was comprised mainly of posters and photographs, with a few artifacts which unfortunately were very poorly illuminated. However, everything else made up for that small defect, as there was so much to absorb and learn about Jacob’s.
Two brothers, William and Robert Jacob, inherited a ships’ biscuit factory from their father in Waterford in 1850. It was so successful that by 1870 the brothers had leased premises in Peter Street in Dublin. Business continued to increase and by 1903 there were two hundred lines in production. By the late 1930’s, six thousand tons of biscuits were exported annually. Three hundred different varieties were being made and the workforce, who were mainly women, numbered three thousand. At this time, the decoration on biscuits was done by hand!
The Jacob’s archives were donated by Valeo Foods, who had bought the Tallaght factory in 2008. These, along with memorabilia collected by Douglas Appleyard (a member of staff for over 40 years), were donated to the Dublin City Library’s Archive in 2012.
Jacob’s took a great interest in the welfare of their staff. There were numerous sporting clubs, a dentist visited the factory every week, a doctor called regularly, and a coffee bar was installed for the workers long before it was considered an essential part of work-places.
As our group viewed the exhibition the conversation was punctuated frequently with “Do you remember...........? “ and, “I loved........!” We gazed at the varied designs of the boxes, and recalled the days when biscuits were sold from tin boxes with glass lids, all temptingly displayed. It was interesting to learn that many variety boxes were named to celebrate events, e.g. Jubilee, USA, Carnival, Pic Nic, etc.
We recalled our favorite biscuits with nostalgia and most of us agreed it was broken biscuits. You could never know what delights would turn up in the bag, but you always hoped for a large number of broken chocolate biscuits. They were the greatest treat!
We are an active group of "more mature" parishioners who get together on Tuesday afternoons, either in the Parish hall, or at one of our many outings. Please come along to one of our meetings and join in the fun! Contact Ann Coulter