AFLOOD of nostalgia washed over me when reading August 31’s Spectator. It wasn’t so much Terry’s and Rowntree that made my mouth water, but the good old Borders names of Hawick Balls and Jethart Snails.
The mention of Berwick Cockles (Wm Cowe & Sons’ Genuine & Originals that is, not the powdery imitations available today) had a particular resonance with me, as my several times greatgrandfather was, I believe, the first man to make the hard-boiled peppermint sweet in about 1801 for Cowe’s predecessor Robert Weatherhead.
More recently, I came to know Terry Heapy, the last in the long line of Cockle makers, after interviewing him for a research report. He retired in 2004, ending 203 years of near-continuous production of Berwick Cockles, interrupted, he said, only by the Second World War, when sugar was rationed and the Cockle maker was taken prisoner by the Germans. I often asked Heapy about the secrets of the age-old recipe, but, alas, earlier this year, he took it with him to his grave.
The iconic tin (above) featured the inscription ‘Purveyors to H. R. H. the late Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck’. Cameron Robertson, by email