Spam, spam, spam, spam... er, no more spam

Spam, Spam Spam, Spam, lovely Spam and ... er, no more Spam. The favourite Monty Python meal is under threat. Yesterday the last factory in Britain producing the much-loved and much-laughed at luncheon meat has closed.

The Newforge factory in Liverpool has shut with the loss of 140 jobs after 40 years of producing Spam under licence for a US company, the Hormel Food Corporation. The Spam for all of Europe will now be produced in Denmark instead.

Spam, which took its name from its ingredients of shoulder pork and ham, first entered the national consciousness as a convenience food 60 years ago.

It became known as the soldier's food during the Second World War and formed almost a daily part of servicemen's rations because it was convenient, easy to digest and contained protein. But for civilians also, it was often the only meat available in wartime Britain and was indispensable until rationing ended in 1954.

But it was the Monty Python team that immortalised Spam in British minds. In one classic sketch John Cleese, Michael Palin et al dressed as Vikings to sing the Spam Song (Lyrics: "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely Spam, wonderful Spam").

"I don't think we ever got permission from the company. We just went ahead," said Michael Palin. "In the end the Spam people were very keen and promised to send us several tins of free Spam. We said: `No, that's all right. Thanks anyway ..."'

The managing director of Newforge, Malcolm Johnson, said he was bitterly disappointed at losing the licence after investing pounds 1.5m in new machinery at the factory over the last 18 months.

Mr Johnson said: "The staff have been magnificent. They have worked hard right up to the last day, hoping something would come up. But it hasn't ... I have pleaded with Hormel but they would not budge."

In recent years, the factory churned out 12 million of the 60p cans a year with an annual turnover of approximately pounds 8m.

Mr Johnson said he believed that with Spam having made 70 per cent of Newforge's produce, the company would now have to wind down.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

Recruitment Genius: Healthcare Assistant

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This provider of care services is looking for...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent