William Gaymer & Son Ltd
A Brief History of the Cyder Making Company
The first of the Gaymers to make cyder was probably Robert Gaymer (1738-1821). He farmed at Banham, near Attleborough in Norfolk, and was succeeded by his son John (1770-1843) - sometimes known as "Long John" - who was somewhat of a local character, and stood 6 feet 10 and a half inches tall.
John was encouraged by his father-in-law, Joseph Chapman, to improve his cyder making methods, which he passed on to his son, William (1805-1884). Joseph Chapman had made a special study of the subject.
The real founder of the present business was the second Mr William Gaymer (1842-1936). He also followed the farming activities of his father and grandfather, but became much more interested in cyder as a commercial proposition. Against the opposition of his father, who hated change, he developed the sale of cyder from Banham and introduced the first hydraulic press in 1870. This was the first major development in production methods and was comparable to the advance made 101 years later when the Bucher-Guyer press was installed at Attleborough. A new factory was built on the present site at Attleborough in 1896; this expansion was required to meet the demands of a growing home and export trade via the railway.
The Company was incorporated in 1906 and Mr William Chapman Gaymer (1882-1970), as Managing Director, was responsible for the progress at that time. On the death of his father, he became Chairman. In 1940 the factory was seriously damaged by bombing, and production was badly affected but, with a small staff, output was maintained under great difficulties. Complete reconstruction was effected in 1947 when the factory took on its present appearance. William C Gaymer was a founder member and first president of the National Association of Cider Makers and its Chairman on many occasions. He died in 1970 at the age of 88 after 74 years' service with the Company.
The Company received its first Royal Warrant in 1933 for the supply of cyder to His Royal Highness, the then Prince of Wales; this honour continues to be bestowed on the Company with the current Royal Warrant being granted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1988.
Mr William C C Gaymer, the eldest son of William C Gaymer, joined the Company in 1931 and his brother Maurice (killed at Singapore in 1942 whilst serving with the Royal Norfolk Regiment) joined the Company in 1933. William C C Gaymer, grandson of the founder of the Company, supervised much of the post-was development as Managing Director and became Chairman of the Company in 1974. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Cider Makers for many years and had the distinction of being elected Chairman on three occasions. On reaching normal retirement age in 1978, he relinquished day to day control of the Company but retained an active interest in the affairs of the business in his capacity as President of William Gaymer & Son Limited.
The Company was taken over by Showerings in 1961 and when Showerings merged with Allied Breweries in 1968, the group was known as Allied-Lyons plc. The Company is now part of the Matthew Clark PLC. Gaymer cyder production ceased in Attleborough in the mid-1990's and operations moved to Somerset.
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