The manufacture of the margarine known as ‘Le Dansk’ was perfected by a Frenchman, Auguste Pellerin, in the 1870s. His first factory was in Paris, but in the 1880s he expanded his enterprise to other northern European countries, including Germany, Norway and England. Pellerin became very wealthy and in later life was a notable art collector. In 1891, when the factory in Northam was established, he lived for six months at Bartley Lodge in the New Forest (external link).

His English factory, which cost £40,000 to build, was established in Princes Street, Northam in 1891. The factory prospered and in the 20th century branched out into processed cheese production. It was employing about 200 staff by the 1930s. It closed down in 1960 and was used for a time as a motor repair works.

David Diaper mentions the factory in his account of growing up in Northam (external link):

"In 1940 when the bombing started, our area became a target as we lived in the dock area of the town adjacent to a margarine factory at the bottom of our garden, we had an air raid shelter and when the sirens sounded we children had to run to for safety, on one occasion my elder sister was in the shelter on her own and had a terrifying time when she was partially buried by masonary from the margarine factory covering the shelter door during a daylight raid, when found she was screaming as she thought she was about to die, she was 9 years old at the time."

Le Dansk Margarine Factory

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Drawing from Buxey's Illustrated Southampton, c.1893

Further reading:

Buxey’s Illustrated Southampton, p29. (HS/a)
Descriptive Account of Southampton Illustrated, p41. (HS/a)
Work and Wealth in a Modern Port, by Percy Ford, p44. (HS/o)
Chapel And Northam: an Oral History Of Southampton's Dockland Communities, 1900-1945, Sheila Jemima.
"How margarine is made. A visit to a factory", Local Government Journal, 30 September 1899, p 638. In Archives, D/Z 92/1. The factory in the article is this specific Northam factory.
"Manufacture of packet cheese in England", Town and Country News, 25 November 1932, pp 36-7. In Archives, D/Z 92/4. This refers to the Bel Cheese factory in Princes Street, Northam - I presume this was the same company.


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