Currently in the hands of a fifth-generation family member, 175-year-old Silvery Tweed processes cereals and seeds for businesses including Premier Foods, Kellogg’s and Dorset Cereals.

Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, cereal and seed processor Silvery Tweed can trace its origins back to Henry Ogle Short, who founded the business in 1843 after training as a miller and setting up his own mill.

In the early days, Short provided goods to people in the local area, with a customer base including bakers, other millers and breweries within a 60-mile radius of its factory in Northumberland. “In those days transport links weren’t developed, so it was very much a local market,” current managing director Bob Gladstone tells British Baker.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that the business started to build links with larger processors such as Premier Foods and Kellogg’s. This followed a change in consumer tastes and demand for cereal and bakery products with added value.

Gladstone joined in 1999 as a trainee, working his way through quality, production, administration and sales before being appointed managing director in 2007, taking over from his father Tom.  

In 2003 the business opened its commercial dry ingredients blending facility, which caters for the industrial bakery sector. This was complemented in 2006 with the addition of industrial seed cleaning and blending to remove impurities from bakery seeds such as sunflower, millet and linseed.

Gladstone explains that as the business has changed and grown, he has had to take a step back from the hands-on jobs he enjoyed in the beginning to focus on long-term business objectives. “While we pride ourselves on being a family business we try to promote the fact we are a serious industrial business fit for the challenges of the 21st century,” he adds.

In 2010, Silvery Tweed increased its storage capacity with a purpose-built unit to cater for larger volumes of raw material and finished products, and this is to be complemented further in 2019 with the addition of more storage and a dedicated sesame processing facility.

The firm has marked its 175th anniversary with activities such as a family fun day for its staff and their families, raising funds for four local charities, the refurbishment of a local school’s home economics department, and the launch of two unique beers.

Gladstone believes the business has reached this milestone by priding itself on honesty, quality and delivering on what it promises. “People still like dealing with an independent family owned business where decisions can be made quickly and efficiently to capitalise on new business opportunities,” he adds. “This has probably been our most vital attribute in recent years.”


1843: Henry Ogle Short sets up Silvery Tweed Cereals

1890: Silvery Tweed factory moves from Etal to Belford and Thomas Short takes over

1998: A fire at the premises forces relocation to the Tweedside Trading Estate, where the business remains today

1999: Bob Gladstone (pictured above) joins the business in a junior role

2003: The business adds a dry ingredients blending facility to cater for commercial customers

2007: As his father retires, Bob takes over the business

2018: The business celebrates its 175th anniversary