Back in 1868, a young George Samworth first entered the business world as a member of a consortium of Birmingham pig buyers. Twenty-eight years later he set up his own business as a pig dealer in Birmingham.
Four generations on and Samworth Brothers is still in the meat trade, employing 6,000 people in the Midlands and Cornwall and turning over nearly £600 million a year, with record profits.
Samworth Brothers, with its headquarters in Leicestershire, owns the household Ginsters brand which turns out three million Cornish pasties a week from its factory in Callington, Cornwall, as well as the famous Dickinson & Morris pork pie maker – the only one left in the town of Melton Mowbray.
In all the Samworth family empire includes 13 businesses. As well as Ginsters, employing 700 people, there’s the Bradgate Bakery in Leicester producing sandwiches and chilled food for Tesco. Bradgate was voted Best Factory by Management Today magazine.
Dickinson & Morris, established in 1851, joined the Samworth empire 140 years later. In 1986 Walker Charnwood, makers of pork pies since 1824, was also acquired.
Elsewhere in Leicestershire, Kettleby Foods produces pies and prepared dishes, Melton Foods makes sandwiches for Waitrose and is growing fast, Walkers Midshire makes sausages and other meat products and Saladworks produces salads. In Cornwall, joining Ginsters, Tamar Foods makes pies, and Kensey Foods produces quiches and deserts for Tesco among others.
Samworth also has a distribution centre in Leicester where 100 artics plough back and forth 24 hours a day, and one of the UK’s leading food testing laboratories in Cornwall. There’s also a sandwich delivery service which makes sandwiches in Milton Keynes and delivers them daily to hungry office workers in London.
In 2006 Samworths sold the Mrs Beeton’s business, but retained the right to produce chilled foods under the name. In 2008, Samworths opened Blueberry Foods in Leicester, making chilled deserts.
David Samworth inherited the business from his father in 1955 and ran it with his brothers Frank and John. He stepped down as chairman exactly 50 years later in 2005. He supports three city academies in Nottingham, Mansfield and Leicester.
As well as the value of the business – around £300 million - we add £40 million for property and past dividends.