Reporter Cathal O’Shannon investigates how the mill, which remains to be working in the present day from Snuff Mill Lane, protects the key of its recipe for the Tonight information programme. His report was broadcast on October 19, 1964. It has been launched by the BBC archive as a part of a collection of fascinating classic information reviews in regards to the area.
Standing in entrance of an historical door within the 18th-century constructing, Cathal says: “This can be a room with a secret. In additional than 200 years, few have ever crossed its threshold.
“In there two males are mixing a secret recipe, a recipe which has been jealously guarded by their household for at the very least two centuries.”
He explains that the snuff mill is among the oldest within the nation and the snuff made there may be nonetheless based mostly on an 18th-century recipe.
A round desk holds a collection of bowls and picket tobacco grinders initially powered by a water mill.
Cathal reveals the rationale for the secrecy: “The entire historical past of snuff has been rivals making an attempt to pinch the opposite man’s recipe by theft, by bribery, by sharp observe. After all, that’s not as frequent because it was many, a few years in the past however then the habits of 200 years die very onerous.
“So upstairs in that little room they nonetheless intently guard the key of the mixtures.”
Cathal says there may be one other secret to the unique Finest SP snuff first made by the agency established in 1737 – no one is aware of what the initials stand for. Cathal says SP might stand for Spanish, referring to the tobacco, Sheffield’s Delight or, almost definitely Candy and Perfumed as these are key components of snuff.
Talking to a head of the agency, unnamed within the movie however nearly actually managing director Mark Chaytor, Cathal asks whether or not there’s nonetheless a necessity to guard the recipe as merchandise might be chemically analysed.
He’s instructed that one of many oils used could be very advanced so it will be unattainable to determine the snuff’s element components from chemical evaluation.
Mr Chaytor says the recipe isn’t written down and solely two relations comprehend it. Requested if he’s nervous that it might be misplaced, he replies with amusement: “I believe it unlikely that we’d each get run over by a tram on the similar time”!
Later, Cathal tries the key door and it’s shortly locked from inside.
He concludes: “No, I’m afraid we’ll by no means be taught what goes on behind that door. However as long as we have now our snuff” – he pauses to take a pinch and blinks so much – “who actually cares?”
The corporate could also be one of many oldest family-run companies in Sheffield nevertheless it has stored up with the trendy world in addition to its lengthy traditions.
Nowadays you’ll be able to order snuff and smoking equipment, together with clay pipes made on web site, on the firm’s web site, https://sharrowmills.com/, or go to their Fb web page.
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