Campbell's Tower, King's Lynn
The tourist board would have you believe that King’s Lynn is famous for its historical buildings and nautical history, but when we visited there was only one thing that stood out - the Campbell’s Soup Factory on Hardwick Road.
Sitting on the outskirts of town, the tower sporting the famous Campbell's logo stands proud against the flat Fens of the Norfolk countryside. Campbell's is a familiar brand, well-known in most kitchens. Andy Warhol's famous reworking of its soup cans in the 1960s makes it even more iconic. So, seeing something this size, in such isolation is more like a piece of art than industry. If this was America, some flashing neon and a giant slurping spoon would complete the picture.
The first cans rolled off the production line here in 1959, in the first major Campbell's factory outside America. Within 20 years the factory employed more than 500 staff, making more than 60 varieties of soup. As if one culinary legend wasn't enough, Fray Bentos pies moved here in the early 90s, but sadly even this couldn't guarantee the factory's future. Premier Foods bought the company for £460 million in 1996 and in January 2007 it announced that it would be closing the site with the loss of 245 jobs.
Now Campbell's soup has disappeared both from King's Lynn and the supermarket shelves – it has been rebranded as Bachelor's condensed soup. Thankfully the tower has held onto its livery, albeit for a short while. Tesco, who owns the site, announced last week that the tower will be demolished to make way for a larger supermarket. Its demise will bring much needed jobs to the area but there’s still a note of sadness as a famous brand and an industrial icon disappears from King's Lynn skyline. Catch it while you can (pun intended).
How to get there
The Campbell's Factory is beside the Tesco's on Hardwick Road, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE30 4NA. It's almost impossible to miss.