Crisp factory sadly forced to pack it in

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In MID-DECEMBER 1974, it was sadly announced that about 150 workers would lose their jobs on January 3, 1975 when the Conisbrough crisp factory ceased production.

The management said the plant had been losing money because of the steep increases in the price of palm oil – it had gone up 200 per cent since March.

An increase of half a pence on a packet of crisps was not enough to stave off the shutdown.

The factory was established in Conisbrough in 1949 by the Gaffney family from Thorne.

Mr K Gaffney had a fish and chip shop in North Eastern Road, Thorne, which he took over after war service.

That business thrived but Mr Gaffney found he had time on his hands during the day and not being the type to sit down and relax, he set about trying to make some crisps as there was a shortage at that time.

Eventually the demand for the crisps grew and grew until the factory was established in Conisbrough.

It thrived, undergoing changes of management, until the crises of 1974.

Those made redundant at Conisbrough included 87 full-time employees (60 women and 27 men) and 62 part-timers (53 women and nine men).

The Conisbrough factory had produced about two million packets of crisps a week.

Colin Boothby, managing director of the XL Crisps Group, part of Associated British Foods, said: “It is a very depressing situation but we just cannot afford to go on losing money.

“If we had not had such a good team at Conisbrough this would have happened before now.’