Benger’s Foods was a very famous food supplement in the early 1900s, especially marketed towards invalids, sickly children, and expectant mothers.

The company started life as Mottershead & Company of Manchester.

It was acquired by Frederick Baden Benger and Standen Paine in 1870 who were both pharmacists and became Benger’s Foods Limited in 1903, presumably after the death of Frederick on January 28 that year.

Frederick was living at The Grange, Knutsford, at the time and is buried with his wife in Knutsford cemetery.

Standen Paine died five years later, on October 4, 1908, and was living in Devisdale, Bowdon.

Frederick left the equivalent of £42m in his will to his wife Sophia whilst Standen left £46m to his wife Catherine and eldest son, Charles Standen Paine.

Northwich Guardian: Benger's Foods factory from above in 1946Benger's Foods factory from above in 1946 (Image: Rose Hurley)

The business had evidently been remarkably successful, however, there is no record of the son pursuing the business as he lived off 'private means' (maybe from his inheritance) and moved to Shropshire and then Somerset where he died in 1961.

Benger’s Food laboratory moved to Holmes Chapel when a purpose-built factory was erected in 1938 on London Road, near the then narrow brick railway bridge, later replaced by the wide steel span.

The building was very impressive in Art Deco design although restrained and was designed by the architect firm of J H Andrews and Butterworth of Manchester who specialised in the design of industrial buildings.

The building was an interesting example of what was called ‘daylight design’ which started in the 1920s, its aim was to make the workplace lighter, more efficient, and pleasant for its workers.

Northwich Guardian: Benger's Foods advertsBenger's Foods adverts (Image: Rose Hurley)

It had an amazing dome lantern in the entrance hall of pink and blue glass which illuminated the space below.

During the Second World War, Benger’s was advertised as a rich flavouring for gravies, soups, and stews.

It was used by troops in the field as a dried milk powder and extra food source and likewise during rationing used to boost the diet and well-being of civilians too. 

In the 1940s the factory employed some 350 people, many from the village of Holmes Chapel and it was one of the main employers in the local area.

Benger’s Foods was bought out by Fison’s in 1947 a pharmaceutical company that was already successful for its asthma and anti-allergy products in the locale.

Northwich Guardian: The factory as viewed from roadThe factory as viewed from road (Image: Rose Hurley)

Benger’s Food supplement stopped being advertised sometime in the 1950s and thus it is assumed that production also stopped during this period.

Fison’s as a company was dissolved in 1996 and the factory was bought by Rhone-Poulenc, and then by Sanofi Aventis.

The buildings were not used and unfortunately decayed over the years.

An attempt was made to make an application for listed status in 2011 but the site was deemed as unacceptable, the report stating 'whilst the frontage of Benger House has characteristic late Art Deco features it does not exhibit sufficient interest or intactness associated with the Art Deco style, although it is clearly of strong local interest'.

The building was finally demolished in 2015 and the site was expected to be sold for redevelopment.