Fonds - East Zorra and Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co. fonds

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East Zorra and Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co. fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1894, 1897-1922, 1926-1934, 1938-1948 (Creation)
    East Zorra and Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co.
    East Zorra-Tavistock, Township of

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Physical description

approx. 17 cm of textual records

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Administrative history

The factory was started in 1871 as a result of the amalgamation and closing of ten small privately owned factories which were operated by the following farmers: D. Malcolm, F. Malcolm, J. Malcolm, Wm. Malcolm, James Lockhart, Francis Sims, Andrew Nichol, Robert McLean, Ascot Lock, and John Bair.” Francis and David Malcolm, who each had a small cheese factory, were leaders, as well as Wm. Cowing and James Lockhart, in establishing the co-operative factory. David Malcolm closed his factory (the Olive Leaf Cheese Factory) when the new factory started, and with his daughter Jessie became the cheese maker of the co-operative. After a couple of years, however, he re-opened his own factory.

The first Board of Directors of the East Zorra and Blandford Company were: James Lockhart, James Malcolm, Andrew Nichol, Wm. Cowing, Joseph Walton, Robt. Thompson, Francis Malcolm, Joseph Stevenson and Robert McLean. According to the Atlas of Oxford County, 1876, this factory was second only to Brownsville in the province of Ontario in the amount of cheese produced.

By 1897 after 26 years operation it was seen that there were defects in the design of the original building, as well as signs of wear and tear. The principal defect was that the wooden floor was built so close to the ground that it was impossible to clean the area under it and after 26 years there was considerable accumulation of decaying refuse which had seeped between the planks. As a result a new factory was constructed of white brick with a floor raised five feet about a basement (the first of this design in the country). The basement had a concrete floor and was constructed so as to simplify good sanitation. The old 100’ x 40’ curing room was retained, but the “make” and “press” rooms were demolished.

Some of the presidents for the company have been: 1874 – John Wilson, 1882 Abraham Bean, 1884 Thomas Lockhart, 1887 John Beattie, 1890 Anthony Miller, 1917 James Brown, John Scott, 1921 R.S. Gillespie. In 1934 fire completely destroyed the factory and dwelling but before the end of the year new buildings were erected and operations resumed. Up until 1948 the price of cheese had varied from a low of 9.09¢ per lb. in 1890 to a high of 20.89 in 1946. The factory ceased operations in 1955 after 82 years in business. Mr. Wilfred Wells was the manager and salesman for the last 27 years.

Custodial history

The records were created by members of the East Zorra and Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co. Over the years these records were in the custody of one of the local museums (museum #981.22.1A) and the Oxford Historical Society. In late 2011, the records were transferred to the Oxford County Archives when it moved to the newly-renovated Governor's House of the Old Oxford County Jail.

Scope and content

The fonds consist of Minute Books and Account Books of the shareholders of the East Zorra and Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co. The Account Books list the rates and prices of each shareholder for the sale of milk, cream, butter and cheese. They also include monthly statements of the amount of milk/cream delivered, etc as well as general receipts and payments. In addition, there is an index prepared by the Oxford Historical Society providing a detailed list of names of the shareholders of the East Zorra-Blandford Cheese Manufacturing Co. and the years of their involvement in the Corporation.

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Physical condition

The materials in this collection are in decent condition.

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was acquired in 2011 from the Oxford Historical Society.


Language of material

  • Canadian English

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Restrictions on access

The fonds is open to publish research. However, please contact the archivist responsible for the records regarding access, as some materials may be too fragile to handle. The Archives will make every effort to supply reference copies where feasible.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright is held by the archives. Researchers are responsible for observing copyright regulations that may apply to the publication of their research. If you wish to publish any of this material, please contact the archivist responsible for the records.

The Archivist has the right to restrict reproduction if the material is in a fragile condition.

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An item level description is available for researchers.

Associated materials

COA24 Innerkip Community (COA Photographs)
COA 34 Incorporations

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No further accruals are expected.

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