Days Gone By - Churchman’s made one million cigarettes a day in Ipswich
Cigarette and cigar production in Ipswich employed thousands of people in the long history of Churchman’s, writes David Kindred.
The firm of W A and A C Churchman was founded in Ipswich by William Churchman in 1790, beginning as a small pipe tobacco manufacturer with a shop at Hyde Park Corner at the junction of Westgate Street, Crown Street and St Matthew’s Street. The company expanded with sales all over the country. Cigarettes were a large part of its output and in the 1890s plans were made to move to a larger site at the junction of Portman Road and Princes Street.
Churchman’s Portman Road factory was extended several times during the 1920s and 30s. By 1965 production was concentrated on the manufacturing of cigars. With a workforce of more than 1,000, the Ipswich factory produced in excess of 1,000,000 cigars a day. In 1972 the cigar business was integrated with John Player & Sons. In May 1992, the parent company moved all production to Bristol and Churchman’s closed with the loss of over 400 jobs.
In this week’s Days Gone By I feature photographs of the days when millions of cigars were being produced by a mainly female staff in Ipswich.
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