George Romney Ltd. was first started in 1918 by Mr. Sam T. Clarke, grandfather of the present managing director Mr. Shane Barron, the third generation who is now handing over to his son John Barron, the fourth generation. Mr Clarke started out as a sweet wholesaler when he was invalided out of the 1914-1918 war, and when he was unable to obtain supplies of Kendal mint cake during the summer of 1919 he purchased an old recipe and started manufacturing in Leightons Yard, Highgate. This was later moved to Waterside Works and then to a purpose built factory on the Mintsfeet Industrial Estate. The name George Romney came from the well known portrait painter and also, the family home happened to be in Romney Road.
The Kendal Mint Cake he produced was quite successful, but was given a tremendous boost when after advertising in a climbing magazine Mr. Clarke was approached by the 1953 expedition to Everest, to see whether he could supply mint cake to them within 7 days. This had to be packed in to high altitude packs for inclusion in the supplies to be sent on ahead, hence the need for hast. Fortunately he had sufficient stock to meet their needs, and his staff willingly gave up their sweet ration coupons to comply with the law. These coupons were later refunded by the ministry of food. Sir Edmund Hillary and Sirdar Tensing ate this mint cake on top of Everest as they gazed at the countryside down below. Tensing also left some to appease his 'gods'. This happening naturally increased sales of mint cake to hikers and climbers and visitors to the Lake District.
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