Tiptree: Broadcaster Micheal Portillo films scenes for new series of Great British Railways at Wilkin & Sons

Michael Portillo with current resident of Tiptree Hall Peter Wilkin

Michael Portillo with current resident of Tiptree Hall Peter Wilkin - Credit: Archant

Former Conservative MP and broadcaster Michael Portillo dropped by Wilkin & Sons in Tiptree recently to film part of his new series.

Mr Portillo arrived at the world-famous jam producer’s premises carrying his Bradshaw Guide, the descriptive railway handbook of Great Britain that mentions John Joseph Mechi - the inventor and experimental farmer who rebuilt Tiptree Hall and founded the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

During his visit Mr Portillo spoke to Ian Thurgood, joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons, about the life and work of Mechi. They visited the farm and the on-site Jam Museum where a gentleman’s travelling box made by Mechi is displayed.

Mr Thurgood said: “We have a small collection of Mechi memorabilia in the museum and we were also able to show Michael some original Mechi boxes from a private collection during his visit.

“Bradshaw had a keen eye for detail and we were delighted to be part of this special series that creates interest in life in Britain in the 1880s.”


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The episode of Great British Railways featuring Tiptree is due to be screened on Tuesday January 28 at 6.30pm on BBC2.

It will also include visits to Ipswich and Chelmsford and see Mr Portillo dredging oysters off Mersea Island before taking the train to Witham.

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