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Man and woman looking at items in a glass cabinet in front of a wall decorated with old maps

Slough Museum’s Trading Estate exhibition celebrates Ragus and the town’s innovation history through objects

27/06/2024 By Frank O’Kelly in Heritage

Slough Museum’s recent exhibition, The Slough Trading Estate: 100 Objects over 100 Years (STE100), was held to celebrate the sheer number and diversity of well-known, beloved products that hail from the town’s industrial estate. Ragus, which recently marked 95 years at Slough Trading Estate and remains committed to local enterprise and invention, featured prominently in the exhibition.

The exhibition, arranged and curated by Slough Museum trustee and SEGRO historian Jaye Isherwood, generated a high number of visitors during its two-week initial run and positive feedback.

Groups of individuals standing chatting in front of cabinets containing artefacts, museum location

Slough Museum’s STE100 exhibition celebrates the diversity of products that hail from Slough Trading Estate.

Through the 100 objects on display, Jaye wanted to “tell the story of the Slough Trading Estate and its businesses, bring local people who have worked at the Estate over the years back in touch with their history, and promote pride in the town.”

Items featured in the exhibition include the Ford GT40 that won at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race four consecutive times from 1966 to 1969 and was built by Ford Advanced Vehicles on the Estate, Thunderbirds memorabilia from the beloved series that was filmed at APF’s studios on the Estate during the 1960s, and items from Mars Confectionery – the Mars bar was first manufactured on the Estate in the 1930s. Visitors could also see the Bestobell Man sculpture, Gillette safety razors from when the brand had a base on the Estate, and items from Horlicks malt drink and Weston Biscuits (Associated British Foods), both Slough heritage brands.

In a further nod to the town’s manufacturing past, vehicles built by Citroën and the Peerless GT by Peerless Cars Ltd featured, as did items from High Duty Alloys Ltd, a company that made aluminium alloys for aerospace applications. Founded by engineer Wallace Devereux in 1927 in Slough, High Duty Alloys grew to become one of the Estate’s larger employers. Most British aircraft built from the late 1920s used some components produced by High Duty Alloys, including the Harrier, Concorde and the Tornado. The Rolls-Royce R engine used in the Supermarine S6 Schneider Trophy race winner also contained components produced by High Duty Alloys.

A special mention should also go to John Crane, a rotational equipment solutions provider and the oldest tenant of Slough Trading Estate. Last year, John Crane celebrated 100 years of doing business in Slough and the company’s dedication to the town echoes that of Ragus’

Ragus’ long history with Slough

Ragus has a long association with the town and, specifically, with Slough Trading Estate. In 2023, we celebrated 95 years of Ragus. All those years ago, our founder Charles Eastick established Ragus on the then recently built Slough Trading Estate, a time in Ragus’ history that we explore in detail in Ragus at 95.   

Ragus banner celebrating 95 years of trading. Exterior of the Ragus facility as it is today Exterior of a Fruit Products Ltd warehouse

Top: Ragus recently celebrated 95 years of trading at Slough Trading Estate.
Bottom left: Founder Charles Eastick established Fruit Products Ltd in 1928 on the site.
Bottom right: Ragus has a long history with Slough Trading Estate. Today, we have a state-of-the-art facility on the site.

The original Ragus factory is listed on the 1930 Estate Directory. This factory helped fuel Ragus’ adventures in product innovation, for example, the crystallised golden syrup, and formed the basis for the state-of-the-art facility we operate from today. In 2028, we will celebrate 100 years of trading on the Estate.

Museum on a mission: celebrating Slough innovation

Slough Museum’s mission is to promote pride in the town through telling the stories of its innovators and the heritage brands that have flourished here. Ragus has a long association with the Slough Museum, and fully supports the role the museum plays in celebrating Slough innovation.

For the STE100 exhibition, Ragus loaned a selection of our own products from across our company’s history. The Ragus ‘cabinet’ featured items that date back to the early days of Charles Eastick, including tins of golden syrup and glass jars of sugar in different forms, and even pieces of sugarcane.

A large glass cabinet on a grey carpeted floor holding Ragus-labelled brand products

Items on display in the Ragus cabinet include old syrup tins, glass jars and bottles of sugar, and even pieces of sugarcane.

Due to the success of STE100, Slough Museum has arranged a series of pop-up exhibitions and established a semi-permanent display to give more visitors the opportunity to view the exhibits and share in the Slough Trading Estate success story. Ragus has supported this endeavour by extending its product loan to the museum.

You can find out more about these pop-ups and Slough Museum’s upcoming exhibitions and activities through its what’s on page and Facebook page.

Ragus manufactures a range of pure sugars and syrups for use in industrial applications from its base at Slough Trading Estate. To learn more, contact our Customer Services Team. For more sugar news and updates, continue browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn.

Frank O’Kelly

Frank is the primary contact for many of our largest customers.

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