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Peek Frean is a brand of biscuits and related confectionery. The brand is owned in the UK by United Biscuits, although the Peek Frean name is no longer used in the UK. In the US and Canada the brand is owned by Mondelēz International, while in Pakistan, the brand is owned by English Biscuit Manufacturers.
Peek, Frean and Co was established in 1857 in Bermondsey, London by James Peek and George Hender Frean. In 1861, the company started exporting biscuits to Australia and later to other overseas destinations. They moved to a larger plant in Bermondsey in 1866 where they continued baking until the brand was discontinued in 1989.
In 1906, the Peek Frean and Co factory in Bermondsey was the subject of one of the earliest documentary films shot by Cricks and Sharp.
In 1921, Peek Frean entered into an amalgamation agreement with rival biscuit firm Huntley and Palmers, resulting in the creation of a holding company, Associated Biscuit Manufacturers Ltd. However, both biscuit firms retained their own brands and premises.
In 1924 they established their first factory outside the UK, in Dum Dum, India. The year 1949 saw the establishment of their first bakery in Canada. The bakery, located on Bermondsey Road in East York, Ontario, still produces Peek Freans cookies.
In Pakistan, Peek Freans products are manufactured and marketed by English Biscuit Manufacturers (EBM). EBM was officially established as a joint venture of Peek Freans' operations in the country since 1965.
During the course of its life, the firm's brand name changed from Peek, Frean and Co to Peek Frean (in the early twentieth century) and then to Peek Freans (by the 1970s, the name having been used in the possessive case on products for many years).
In late 2011 a tinned Christmas pudding was discovered at the back of a kitchen cupboard in Poole Dorset and was donated to the museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It was a "Peek, Frean & Co's Teetotal Plum Pudding—London, High Class Ingredients Only" from the 1900s and was one of 1000 sent to the troops during the Boer War. It was sent by Agnes "Aggie" Weston—superintendent of the Royal Naval Temperance Society hence it being teetotal.
In popular culture
In the British TV comedy The Young Ones, Series 2, Episode 1, "Bambi" (1984), Alexei Sayle announces "It's quite interesting, you know, the number of biscuits that are named after revolutionaries. You've got your Garibaldi, of course, you've got your Bourbons, then of course you've got your Peek Frean's Trotsky Assortment."
On the American TV drama Scorpion, Season 1, Episode 7, "Father's Day" (2014), Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) mentions the biscuits. His subordinates, too young to be familiar with the snack, are puzzled by his reference to the commercial tag line (USA, 1980s): "A very serious cookie".
- "Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey, London". Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "Biscuit Factory Makes 'Comeback'". BBC News. 8 February 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "A Visit to Peek Frean and Co.'s Biscuit Works". Cricks and Sharp. 1906. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- English Biscuit Manufacturers
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peek Freans.|
- Official site
- Peek Freans history
- Southwark Council Blue Plaques 2005
- Records of Peek Frean—University of Reading
- Peek Frean Permanent Exhibition—Rotherhithe Heritage Museum, The Pumphouse Educational Museum
- A peek at Peek Freans by Will Pavia