About the Shippams in Chichester
Written by Portia Tremlett, Museum Assistant at The Novium Museum.
The story of Shippam's begins in 1750, when the grocer Sergeant Shipston Shippam opened premises at West Gate selling butter, cheese and meat which he collected from the West Country. In 1783 further premises were opened in East Street, as well as a retail shop in South Street.
After his death, his son established relations with the Royal Navy, meaning that during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), the firm supplied provisions to the dockyard and ships at Portsmouth and Spithead.
Shippam's started out as a supplier of meat and dairy products, before moving into pastes, sandwich spreads and soups, as well as canned and jarred meats. The company prided themselves on their ability to source their ingredients from all over the world: "There are sardines from Portugal, anchovies from Spain, salmon from Canada and the United States, lobster from Nova Scotia, shrimps from Holland, prawns from Scandinavia and"- perhaps most shocking - "turtles from Bermuda". In the early days, Shippam's even produced a 'Galantine of Wild Boar's Head with Pistachio Kernels'! In 1897, a dozen pints of real turtle soup would cost 24 shillings, while the wild boar's head galantine would be 10 shillings and sixpence per dozen cases.
The business was one of the earliest preservers of meat and fish products, by transporting their goods in white porcelain containers, sealed with butter. It was in 1906 that the company first packed its meats into sterilised glass jars with airtight metal caps, establishing the Shippam's name with the product we know today.