Monday, 16 March 2009

West Hill SW11

Peterkin Custard was sold under the slogan Eggs is eggs, and so is Peterkin real egg custard, but it consisted mainly of maize starch, a bit of colouring and flavouring, and not more than four per cent dried egg, according to a certificate produced by the Public Analyst when a grocer selling the stuff was hauled before Marylebone Police Court in 1926.
The prosecution said that a pint of egg custard made in the traditional way would contain two whole eggs, whereas the amount of dried egg in Peterkin was just one-thirtieth of that amount.
For the defence, Mr W. Frampton submitted that Peterkin was not as bad as some custard powders which had no egg in at all (he didn't name names but Bird's is one) and with eggs costing tuppence ha'penny each, what did you expect from a packet of custard powder selling at a penny ha'penny?
The magistrate agreed. Case dismissed.

6 comments:

CarolineLD said...

I love this sign, which I recently made a special trip to visit - and what a wonderful court case. I suppose a fifteenth of an egg is better than none... if only by a gram or two!

ChrisP said...

I came across it accidentally, slogging up West Hill on my bike to Wimbledon. It was a great court case - the Medical Officer of Health for Hampstead claimed that "if a purchaser accepted this article as real egg custard, he would be prejudiced as regards health; and if he were an invalid, it might be deleterious." Hard to believe that lack of egg would have such an evil effect, but they were obviously out to get Peterkin.

CarolineLD said...

Dramatic claims! Perhaps they were thinking of all those Victorian invalids who seemed to subsist on beef tea and custards.

(By the way, I think blogger has it in for Peterkin too: the verification work is 'paste'!)

ChrisP said...

Ah, the 'invalid diet'. Not to be confused with hospital food. There is an interesting cookbook from (I think) the 1920s here http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bfhgkNdSuVEC that includes a special section on 'invalid diet', including milk soup and beef tea jelly, which sound horrid, and steamed whiting with white sauce which sounds very nice. Interestingly, the introduction specifically states that for Brown and Polson's Custard Powder 'no claim is made that it contains dried eggs, milk or cream'. So fake custard must have been an issue.

Sam Roberts said...

This is fascinating stuff, it's always been hard to find any information about the Peterkin company. When I last did some digging I came across this

It would be great to include some of this research within the new UK Ghost Signs archive project...

ChrisP said...

Hi Sam - I love the Ghost Signs project. Very worth while, and I will start looking out for them. Feel free to use any of the material here!