History

1857-James Peek (1800-1879) already a wealthy tea importer opened a biscuit factory in a former sugar refinery at Mill Street, Dockhead, London

1860-James was joined by a relative, George Hender Frean (1824 – 1903), but Peek’s young sons were reluctant to work under Frean and soon returned to the family home in Devon, by then the factory employed 8 workers

1861-Peek Freans began exporting biscuits to Australia

1865-Introduced the popular Pearl, a small lighter, sweeter biscuit

1866-James Carr purchased 10 acres of market gardens adjoining the railway viaduct in Drummond Road, Bermondsey, to build the biscuit factory, James’s Peek’s son-in-law Thomas Stone joined as James Peek retired

1867-James Carr joined Peek and Frean as an apprentice to open the biscuit factory in Drummond Road, Bermondsey

1870-The Bermondsey factory was large and was the first to provide doctors and dentist care for the workers and had a fire brigade, demand for biscuits rose as they supplied biscuits to the French Army in the Franco-Prussian War, 220,000,000 6×2 inch biscuits were supplied to the besieged French in Paris

1872-Exporting biscuits to Canada, banked by Rothschilds and driven by demand for biscuits from French migrants into Canada

1873-Fire destroyed the Mill Street factory

1879-James Peek died in Torquay

1880-Peek Freans was the first factory in London to be supplied by electricity

1887-After much quarrelling with Peek’s son-in-law Thomas Stone, George Frean retired

1899-Introduced the Chocolate Table biscuit

1900-Royal warrant to supply biscuits to the Prince of Wales

1902-The shortbread Pat a Cake biscuit was launched 

1904-Francis Hedley Peek, James Peek’s great nephew and first chairman died, which ended the involvement with the company from the Peek and Frean families, although members of John Carr’s family were to continue their involvement for a few more generations, Arthur Carr became chairman and managing director

1907-Pearl biscuit discontinued, by then the factory employed 1,300 men, 1,000 girls, and 250 office staff

1910-Introduced the Bourbon, a cocoa-flavoured cream sandwich biscuit

1911-Bermondsey Uprising, woman workers strike for higher pay and the abolition of short shifts

1912-Produced a record 100,000,000 shortbread biscuits in 3 months

1913-Sales doubled since 1900, then introduced the custard cream and opened a subsidiary chocolate factory, Meltis in Bedford

1942-Packaged 3,158,566 POW parcels

1964-The Bermondsey factory employed 1,750 workers

1984-The largest Christmas Pudding maker in England 

1987-Nabisco acquired Peek Frean

1989-Peek Frean’s UK were acquired by Danone, but with biscuit sales in decline and manufacturing running at 50%, the factory closed with a loss of 1,000 jobs

Currently-The biscuit factory site and buildings are now the Tower Bridge Business Complex, the site has planning permisson to build 800 new apartments,