40-year milestone for Durham Foods

Durham Foods are celebrating 40 years.  Alan Hamiliton (Jnr) and Alan Hamilton
Durham Foods are celebrating 40 years. Alan Hamiliton (Jnr) and Alan Hamilton

A family business famous for its pease pudding is celebrating 40 years of trade.

Durham Foods, founded by Alan Hamilton, has three generations of the family working at its Gilesgate factory.

From left, Alan Hamilton, Anisleigh Searle, Lewis Hamilton, Kirsty Hamilton and Alan Hamiliton Jnr.

From left, Alan Hamilton, Anisleigh Searle, Lewis Hamilton, Kirsty Hamilton and Alan Hamiliton Jnr.

The business produces and supplies 72,000 tubs of its own pease pudding per week, and has a range of cooked meats.

Alan, 76, from Belmont, still works at the factory as its figurehead, along with son Alan Jnr, aged 53, and grandchildren Ainsleigh Searle, 29, Lewis Hamilton and Kirsty Hamilton, both 20.

Alan Jnr, 54, said the family were delighted to reach the four decade milestone, as the business continues to go from strength to strength.

Alan, who joined the business aged 17 and is now the managing director, said: “My dad was never motivated by money, he just wanted to succeed and do the best he could.

We started off making a few 100 pots of pease pudding but now we are doing 72,000 a week. Everybody in the North East is incredibly proud of it and it is amazing how much passion there is for it.

Alan Hamilton Jnr

“He had the desire to be his own boss and he wanted to be the best. On leaving school aged 15, my dad went down the pit but left aged 20 and became a van salesman.

“Later he worked for Richmond Sausages and he was a manager at Palethorpes before deciding that he wanted his own business.

“He set up Durham Foods in 1978 and just had one van. He would buy stuff from wholesalers and sell it to retail outlets.”

As the business began to grow, Mr Hamilton bought a unit in Gilesgate and has expanded its premises to create its current factory.

It has been producing its own products since the 80s and now has more than 20 employees.

Alan Jnr said: “We started off making a few 100 pots of pease pudding but now we are doing 72,000 a week.

“Everybody in the North East is incredibly proud of it and it is amazing how much passion there is for it.

“We have been employing people for 40 years and are looking to employ more.

“We produce six days a week and everything is made locally.

“My children Ainsleigh and Kirsty work in administration and we want Lewis to learn every part of the business – he is currently warehouse manager.

“We are launching a range of dips called Where the River Bends, which is an off-shoot of the pease pudding.

“It is a hummus-style dip and is allergen free.”

“We supply pease pudding all over the North East and the Midlands and the dip is available from around York south.”