JANUARY 2019 GBF – WALL’S
You may not think that ice cream and sausages
go well together. Oh, how wrong you are...
Wall’s Ice Cream was fi rst produced by T.
Thomas Wall tried to combat declining
summer sales with a delicious icy treat.
The butcher’s stall was located in St
James’s Market, London, with the meat side
of the business thriving – Queen Victoria
herself was supplied with Wall’s sausages
every week. Ice cream, however, may have
saved the business, as up until this point
more and more staff had to be laid-off each
summer when sales dropped.
All ideas were frozen as World War One
was on the horizon; business didn’t start up
Wall’s Ice Cream started to be sold in the streets,
fi rstly from horses and carts, and then from the
now-famous ‘Stop Me and Buy One’ tricycles.
Meat and ice cream were still a surprisingly
strong pair, with a second factory being acquired
in Acton, west London, in 1922 specifi cally for
ice cream – a factory in Battersea was for meat.
In the same year the company was bought by the
Lever Brothers, which latterly became Unilever.
Thomas Wall Jr, Thomas Wall’s son, was
devoted to helping children receive a strong
education. When his business was sold to the
Lever Brothers, he set up the Thomas Wall
Trust, which was dedicated to funding students
at school and university. When he died in 1930,
most of his estate went to the Trust.
The amount of tricycles selling Wall’s ice
cream jumped from 10 in 1922 to 8,500 in 1939.
Seven million tonnes of ice cream were produced
in 1945, and in 1959, Wall’s doubled its capacity
by opening a purpose-built ice cream factory in
Gloucester, while the Acton site was closed.
Seven million tonnes became 20 million
tonnes of ice cream by 1960, making Wall’s
the world’s largest ice cream manufacturer at
the time. Six years previously, they had also
become Britain’s largest manufacturer of
sausages and pies.
Mattessons, the creators of the Fridge Raider,
was acquired by Wall’s in 1965, along with Robert
Lawson & Sons, which owned the largest bacon
factory in Scotland. Usefully, it also had a large
contract with Marks & Spencer.
Wall’s produced many advertisements for its
ice cream in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The most
popular in the ‘60s were the Cornetto and the
In the 1970s, the famous Just One Cornetto ad
launched, with many people still singing those
lines today, no matter what the original Italian
of O sole mio says. It was actually voted the UK’s
catchiest jingle of all time in 2012. A veganfriendly,
gluten-free Cornetto has recently been
introduced in the UK, showing the company’s
commitment to nutrition. The 1970s also saw
the launch of the Lemonade Sparkle – more
commonly known as the lemonade lolly.
The ‘80s brought about the bright colours of
Funny Feet, Feast and Twister ice creams, all
of which are still in production today. The Carte
d’Or brand was fi rst launched during this time,
but repeatedly failed. It was relaunched again in
1990, and this time took off , albeit only after a
£2.6m advertising campaign.
Wall’s ice cream also found fame in the early
21st century through the fi lms featuring Simon
Pegg and Nick Frost, where the pair enjoy
Cornettos in Hot Fuzz, Paul and The World’s
End. Aptly, the fi lms have become known as the
In July 2018, YouGov conducted research into
Britain’s favourite ice lolly. The survey, of nearly
1,000 people, found that four out of fi ve top ice
lollies were made by Wall’s, with the winner
being the Magnum. Other Wall’s brands
in the top fi ve were Solero, Twister and Feast.
Wall’s ice cream is obviously just as loved now
as it was back then; the only diff erence being that
ours tend to be delivered via supermarket van,
Wall’s Cornetto was fi rst
launched in the 1960s
‘Stop Me and Buy One’
tricycles were on the
streets by 1939
Have you got a factory you think should feature in this column?
Reproduced with kind permission of Unilever from an original in Unilever Archives
Wall & Sons Ltd – sausage makers since
1786. The year was 1913, and chairman
again until it was over in 1922. Soon enough,
Choc-Block. Its cinema ad had the slogan jingle
of ‘buy one, try one, now’.