The Carr’s story began when Jonathan Dodgson Carr first started his bakery business in Carlisle in 1831. In 1837 he moved the business to Caldewgate and built a flour mill, bread and biscuit bakery, with two further factories opening in 1890 and 1900.
In 1841 a Royal Warrant was granted by Queen Victoria, making Carr’s the first biscuit maker to receive the accolade.
At the end of 19th century, water was used instead of fat to blend the dry ingredients together to keep the biscuits fresh on long ship voyages. Carr’s Table Water was originally eaten by sailors but as word spread, they were enjoyed by many others as well. We acquired Carr’s in 1972. Since then we have extended the range to include delicious Table Water flavoured crackers, indulgent Carr’s Melts and a handy Carr’s Selection pack.
Since 1972 the Carr’s biscuit factory has been part of United Biscuits, and the Carr’s branded products are marketed in the USA by Kellogg’s. The factory today is known officially as McVitie’s but still known locally as Carr’s.
Carr’s Flour Mills and the later established agricultural supplies and feeds businesses became Carr’s Milling Industries plc, which is still based in Carlisle and now known as Carr’s Group PLC. Its products have since the 1990s appeared in UK supermarkets through their Carr’s Breadmaker flour range. Carr’s Group also own companies involved in light engineering. In 2016 Carr’s Group sold the flour milling division to Whitworth Holdings.
In 2005 the Caldewgate factory in Carlisle lost two months production due to flooding. In 2016 the local newapaper the News and Star stated that it had been reopened with a £1 million Government grant.
In March 2012, it was announced that Carr’s Table Water Biscuits had lost their royal warrant due to ‘changing tastes’ in the Royal Households.
In January 2016 United Biscuits announced that the factory in Caldewgate, Carlisle, had experienced 5 feet of floodwater on 6 December which damaged the brick ovens and would result in product shortages on retail shelves. After closing the works for one month to repair and clear flood damage, production and distribution gradually resumed in spring 2016.