One of the best known jam makers in East Anglia is Wilkin and Sons of Tiptree, Essex and if you have never visited its jam shop, tea rooms and museum you have missed a treat.
The entrance to it is eye-catching as the photo, taken by my next door neighbour Hilton Newson, shows. The scene is dominated by a Greens 6 1/2 ton Road Roller Registration number OPU 215 built in 1944. It was one of several of that type used in the preparation of airfields during WW2 that were built locally at such places as Birch, Bradwell, Gosfield and Mersea. After the war it was acquired by Wilkin and Sons for work on their farm at Tiptree and was used to roll brick rubble into the paths and for levelling tarmac and such like. When its engine expired and deemed to be beyond repair the roller was towed around the farm by a modern tractor until the late 1980’s when it was finally parked on the farm and left undisturbed until around 1998 when it was cleaned , and restored by Arnold Frost of Mersea.
This roller was bought second hand for £260 more that half a century ago and proved an excellent investment. Surrounding are several farm implements including a Ransomes built harrow and a very early corn drill manufactured by James Smythe and Sons Ltd at Peasenhall, Suffolk which was used regularly on the farm until the 1980’s. It was originally horse drawn but in the late 1940’s it was adapted to work with a tractor. Also parked around are several tractors such as a Ferguson T20, a Massey Ferguson 35 and a County 1174.
If after passing these you go inside the building you can get a “cuppa”, or have a full blown meal. Afterwards there is a small museum and a jam shop to visit. The museum is very interesting as it details the early days of jam making on the site , with many of the artefacts used.
It is a visit well worth making.