BATGER - Before & After
- Bryan Mawer / John Hearle

In 1772, H Batger insured his sugar millhouse with the Sun Fire Office for the sum of 400. In 1781, the name appears as John Batger & Son, London, and also as Wackerbarth, Batger & Detmar, London, sugar refiners. In the mid-1790s we see Henry & William Batger, and by 1800 Henry has died but his son Octavius is apprentice to John Henry Wackerbarth. [Sources: Sun; Hutcheson; directories.]

We also know that in the Wellclose Square area of St George's in the East, London, in the period either side of 1800, the name Batger appears alongside those of the Holthouse, Dirs, Engelke, Ludekins, Dettmar, Mertens, Lilkendey, Dolge, Wackerbarth and Witte sugar refining families.
In HOLT455 [at Northamptonshire Record Office], are mentioned John Henry Mich. Batger of Holte, Henry Batger of Driftsethe (both villages in Germany), and Margaret Batger wife of Henry. HOLT499 [NRO] shows a marriage licence at the Bishop of London's Office for a Batger/Wackerbarth marriage 29 Feb 1812, another example of the German families inter-marrying.

The IGI has a series of entries for the name Batger from 1749 to 1847.

....Bryan Mawer

***** So, there is early information for this German surname, uncommon in London, and here follows up-to-date information, but can anyone, please, help us to link the two together, for surely they must in some way. *****

John Hearle writes....

"Batger & Co Ltd.... My interest stems from the fact that I worked for the company from 1951 till 1968, and a number of my ancestors were also employed, traceable to the early 1900s and before.

When I joined the company they had two factories in Cable Street, Stepney, one on either side of Ratcliffe Road. These had been extensively damaged during air raids on the London Docks and new premises were subsequently found at Clapham.

The original factories had their own wharfs and shipped their raw materials along the Thames. The main factory at 566 Cable Street manufactured jams, bakery sundries and confectionary; best known products being 'Chinese Figs', 'Silmos Lollies', 'Jersey Caramels', and 'John Peel marmalade'. The employees at the other factory manufactured 'Harlequin Christmas Crackers', and all forms of cake decorations for the bakery industry.

My father worked for the company from 1902 until 1972, and was originally found the job by an uncle who was already employed there.

My knowledge of the origins of the company are sketchy. I seem to remember hearing of an Elizabeth Batger who made and sold sweetmeats from a shop in Stepney in 1748. The company was latterly owned by the Machin family, and subsequently, after the 1914/8 war jointly with the Hetherington family until it was aquired or amalgamated with the Needler company of Hull around 1970."


I am grateful to John Hearle for his first-hand information that prompted this case study ... and my thanks to Andrew Simpson for the advertisement.



BM continues ...

Batgers was indeed taken over by Needlers in 1970 ...

"... Percival Needler retired in 1970, aged 70, and was succeeded by his son Raymond as Managing Director. He immediately bought the London-based toffee manufacturers Batgers, known for their 'Jersey' brand, and for producing Sainsbury's own brands. ..."

From Hull University Archives Ref: U DNE - Records of Needlers Ltd (1886-1986)

In the same holding are three document specific to Batgers -
U DNE/x1/49 Report on Batger & Company Limited by Touche Ross, prior to acquisition by Needlers (24 Jun 1970)
U DNE/x1/51 File. 'Various catalogues'. Contains product catalogues of Needlers and Needler/Batger (1957 - 1975)
U DNE/x1/81 Batger & Co. List of products and prices (September 1936)

These documents can all now be found in the Hull History Centre.


16 Bishopsgate ... Eliz Batyer, Confectioner, 1838 ... Image HERE on Spitalfields Life. (scroll to 4th old image)