The Heinz Digital Film Archive at HAT: Early Years at Harlesden

The Heinz UK Marketing Archive at HAT includes 152 film reels containing footage relating to Heinz operations, factories and people from 1920s-90s e.g. events, manufacturing processes, building work, social occasions, training films, conferences, exhibitions and TV commercials. These have been catalogued and digitised by HAT in partnership with the East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA) and are a fantastic resource for social historians. Many of the early films feature footage of the construction and development of Heinz’s model factory at Harlesden which was opened in August 1925 and where British-made baked beans first rolled off the production lines in 1928. 

The Story of Heinz Baked Beans - HZ15037

Two years later a soup kitchen (described in an industry journal as ‘The world’s most modern kitchen’) and spaghetti line were added. 

By 1936 Harlesden was manufacturing 100 million cans a year and other new lines during this period included macaroni in cream sauce with cheese, sandwich spread, coffee and table jellies. 
The Heinz ‘57 Club’ for staff helped to foster camaraderie among the factory team with outings, dances, sports days and amateur dramatics. Regular ‘Recognition Days’ were held to award employees for outstanding lengths of service. The films also show footage of Heinz sales representatives’ visits and conventions.

Harlesden Happenings selection - HZ 15052/HZ 15003

During the Second World War Harlesden, as a major food factory, was a target for enemy bombers and suffered severe damage on several occasions which is also recorded in the film footage.

Harlesden and Standish Progress in Reverse 1944 - HZ15034

We will be adding further films from the Heinz collection to HAT’s online catalogue over the next few months.

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