Author: Chris Bennett

Egg Packing Parlour/ Transport Yard, Hillside, Burton
This article will focus on some background history relating to the use of the land around the home known as Tyning View, leading to its current business as a ‘transport distribution yard’ on Hillside, Burton.

The information has been gathered from a number of sources, including family members who still reside within or near to the village today and some ‘first hand’ insight from those who worked at the place some 50-60 years ago. I feel sure a large number of local residents today (outside of the families) will be unaware of the existence of the work undertaken at this business and the importance it had for local residents, particularly as employment in a very small rural community.

Over many years we know the Clark family have been principal landowners and farmers for large areas of Burton, whereupon around about post war/early 1920’s brothers Gilbert ‘Bert’ (1896-1989) and Theodore Charles had agreed to split some of the land enabling Charlie to build and begin a business at the site on Hillside, which also included the construction of the family home at the site. In actual fact Charlie (when aged 17yrs) served in World War I and was wounded (shot in the leg), eventually ending up in a Swedish hospital to recover before returning home.

So, what else was here back at this time in history? You might be surprised to know that we had a large egg packing parlour. Unfortunately, due to the length of time passing, we don’t seem to have very much information about the operation of the business at that time, other than it must have been fairly successful to go as long as it did.   

However, when Charlie died, the business was passed to his eldest son ‘Viv’ Clark (1929-2022) who brought up his own family at Tyning View. Viv’s younger brothers Gordon and Jim also worked at the family business. Gordon was the company secretary and Jim looked after the egg packing/distribution. Apparently, the business extended when Viv took on a fairly large transport business, operating about 12 lorries from the Burton yard with some at a yard in Calne.

The above photo shows the buildings used for the egg parlour/packing station and loading bay.

We have asked close family and workers to give us an insight into what it was like to work at the egg packing warehouse/parlour, here is what they collectively had to say:

“There were about four persons working in the office to deal with the ordering and distribution/delivery of the eggs and six persons employed in the packing areas, using a grading machine. Prior to the introduction of this ‘high tech’ grading machine, there were more workers to grade the eggs into appropriate sizing. Each one of the workers would then inspect each egg using a fluorescent light which was shone through the egg to check for blood spots and double yolks. The hours of work for the egg graders were 9am to 3pm or until all the eggs were packed and loaded onto the vans. At Tyning View there were two large hen pens plus a further two pens located in the village, now the current sight of the sewerage treatment plant. The hens were tended by grandson Ian (then aged 14yrs) and another local lad called Paul Wileman. Additional eggs were collected daily from nearby farms in vans driven by Viv Clark, Jim Clark and Arthur Cleverly. The packaged eggs were used in local bakeries and distributed to places such as London, Bath and Bristol. The work was hard, although we got on very well together, lots of laughs which made the days pass quickly. Sometimes one of the family would travel with dad ‘Viv’ on the delivery round. On one occasion daughter Vivienne ended up in the Royal United Hospital, Bath. Apparently, dad had taken a sharp turn a bit too fast and Vivienne fell out of the van, suffering injuries to hands and knees. The transport business also continued, mainly carrying goods from the Lyons/Tetley depot at Avonmouth Docks, including tea leaves, coffee beans, jams and soft drinks. The tea and coffee beans were transported to Greenford, just outside London for processing. The finished packed tea and jars of roasted coffee were brought back to Burton and later redistributed around the country. The egg packing parlour eventally closed down around about 1995”    

 Jim Clark’s wife Monica (they married in 1962) was one of the ladies who worked at the business, and adds:

“I lived in Yatton Keynell as a young girl in the 1940’s & 50’s and started work at the egg packing business in about 1958, at that time I travelled around on my pedal cycle, using it to get to work in Burton. I recall a very kind lorry driver would sometimes catch up with me in the Castle Combe area and offer me a lift to work, putting my bike on the flat bed of the lorry. Strangely, I never knew his name, but appreciated his kindness. I had a few jobs at the egg packing parlour, including sitting in a cubicle with machinery that brought the eggs into the parlour. The eggs would pass over a fluorescent light and I could pick out any eggs with ‘blood spots’ before they went to the grading machine. This was quite monotonous work and we took turns in doing this. I would think we sorted/graded/packed many thousands of eggs daily. When Jim and I married we moved to Burton and built the bungalow where I still live. I can’t recall when I stopped work at the parlour but it must have been well into the late 1970’s. My husband Jim continued to work there doing deliveries until the business closed”       

The below photograph taken in 1971 shows staff working in the egg grading area of the business (left to right – Margaret Packer, Mrs Shortall, ‘Delly’ Broom and Monica Clark). You can also see part of the egg grading machine in the bottom left of the photograph.


What about the transport business?

We know the transport side of the business continued under the helm of Viv for several years, eventually introducing his son Ian into the world of lorries. In fact, Ian took over the business around about 1994, operating about 6 lorries and is still operating today under a different company as a sole owner. As of today (Feb. 2024), the lorry yard is still used by Ian’s company and other transport companies as an overnight parking area.

This has been a very brief insight into the family business to get a flavour of the sort of work they brought to the village and wider area. If in the future we gather any further information, this may become the subject of an additional article. But for now, we hope you have enjoyed the read.

The Bugle Editorial Team would like to very much thank the Clark and Packer families for providing the material used in this article.

An earlier form of this article by Chris Bennett first appeared in The Bugle


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