Some forgotten, some out of circulation and a few still in circulation
The recent warm weather has got everyone at East of the M60 Towers in the mood for an ice cream or a lolly of some sort. Our local ice cream van plays the Match of the Day signature tune (my dog and I would prefer Tubular Bells, but that’s another story), but it hadn’t yet tempted me to leave the house for a 99 Cone with Raspberry or Hundreds and Thousands on.
In Tameside and its immediate area, ice cream always meant Fairclough’s, Susca’s, Levaggi’s, Granelli’s or Sivori’s. In recent times, the freezer cabinet of our nearest supermarket or off licence has been a happy hunting ground, often for something without the panache of the above’s ices. (Ice Cream might be the subject of another East of the M60 posting by the way).
Even so, the joys of Walls’ and Lyons Maid’s ice lollies, and countless others, aren’t without their appeal. After a hard and warm summer day at school, we weren’t mithered about the texture or creaminess of Fairclough’s finest. We would nip to the nearest off-licence for a lolly or ice pop. (And one of my former schools had a garage opposite with a really good ice pop section).
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you a veritable A to Z of ice cream based goodness. Sit back, relax, and rush to the freezer…
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Many a 1980s child would have enjoyed this as a dessert with their school dinners. The fusion of sponge, mixed fruit jam and vanilla ice cream makes for a good dessert, one which I always enjoyed back in the mid-1980s.
Black Forest Gateau Ice Lolly
If anyone can fill me in on the makers of this, I would be most grateful! I tried a Black Forest Gateau style ice lolly some time in 1991 with a cherry centre. It was shaped like a Walls Feast and had a similar consistency. I think it was chocolate covered too.
Among the cider lollies of the last half century was Lyons Maid’s Cider Barrel, which was made with Bulmer’s Cider. Imagine the uproar from the anti-drinks lobby if a similar product was launched today?
Double Licker lollies:
For the last three decades, the double licker ice lolly has been a popular cheap and cheerful one seen in frozen food shops. The joy of which entails a standard size lolly with two sticks which could be split in half.
Launched by Lyons in March 1968 as an upmarket line of ice cream. Also the first ice cream to be sold in cinemas with a liquor. Available in Cherry Brandy.
Based on Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds, it was launched in May 1967 and aimed at girls. Now owned by R&R after being owned by Nestlé, it is deemed the UK’s Biggest Selling Ice Lolly. The recipe remains similar to that of 1967: Vanilla and Strawberry with Chocolate and the Hundreds and Thousands. There are now Apple and Blackcurrant varieties.
Lyons Maid’s football themed ice lolly was a chilled snack of two halves. Launched in June 1978, it was promoted by Kevin Keegan. On finishing the tri-coloured ice lolly, a plastic footballer would emerge at the top of the stick. After purchasing another nine Goal lollies, you could have enough for a five-a-side game and send tokens to Lyons Maid for a pitch and tactical tips from Mr Keegan himself.
Launched July 1973 with different pictures under the wrapper. Pictures were directly printed onto the ice cream itself!
A hundred years ago from now, the Midland Counties Dairy was established, before being swallowed up by Unigate and Lyons Maid. Under the former’s tutelage came the Ice Warrior lolly. Launched in April 1975, it was a blackcurrant lolly with a vanilla ice cream centre.
Treats’ answer to Lyons Maid’s Juice Bars and Walls’ Sparkle lollies. They came in orange and cola flavours. Today, they are largely superseded by their Refresher range of ice lollies, though no cola flavour exists.
It was a toss-up between the more familiar Cornetto, or the knock-off version by Lyons Maid for this feature. The latter was launched in May 1977, aimed at the adult market. It comprised of chocolate topping with hazelnut pieces. A chocolate version and mint choc chip version was launched in April 1978.
Walls’ concession to class war, albeit a chocolate dipped and toffee coated lolly with a toffee flavoured ice cream centre and caramel. Also namechecked in Andrew Collins’ book Where Did It All Go Right?.
Still very much available today, the Mr Freeze ice pop comes in a variety of vivid colours and flavours including Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Lemon and Lime. The doyen of them all was the brown Cola flavour.
Launched by Lyons Maid in March 1972, it was a chocolate covered lolly with an ice cream centre which had hazelnut pieces.
One of a selection of fizzy drink themed lollies launched by Walls. In later years, they would be known as Orange Sparkles in line with their Lemonade Sparkle.
Made by the Liverpool independent ice lolly company Pendleton, it was an ice lolly and an ice cream in one, like a Strawberry Split. Pendleton’s were sold to Associated British Foods in 1979.
Lyons Maid’s Cola, Cherry and Cider lollies, launched May 1981.
A raspberry flavoured lolly by Walls, aimed at children.
With a cone shape similar to the Sputnik satellite, a typical Screwball ice cream would have Raspberry Ripple and a bubble gum at the bottom. Used containers could double as badminton shuttlecocks or Daleks. And the bubble gum was never big enough to make proper bubbles. Not least for my mouth… even in 1988.
A triangular prism shaped lolly covered in chocolate with a chocolate ice cream centre. Short lived, launched in 1989.
A great many of us also opt for own brand ice lollies and ice creams owing to the greater convenience of superstores in comparison to ice cream vans. A shame, as this seem to have led to the loss of such inventive yet colouring addled lollies.
On the other hand, superstore chains can hold their own in the premium ice cream stakes. Why pay a quid or more for a Walls Magnum when Iceland gives you four Majestics for £1.50?
A staple of ice lollophiles is the Vimto lolly, either done cheaply from carton drinks at local newsagents, or shaped like a pyramid. Now there’s standard shaped Vimto lollies and push-up lollies (the latter in a tube like Walls’ Calippo’s). Or you could always make your own and add as much Vimto as you want.
Launched around 1998 in the UK by Walls with a white bear (called Winner). It is a taco style wafer dipped in chocolate with vanilla ice cream in the centre.
As in deceased manufacturers taken over by bigger concerns. Hence Unigate taking over Midland Counties Dairies, Lyons Maid (then part of Allied Breweries) taking over Pendleton. Also true of the missed lines sent to The Great Ice Cream Van in the Sky, with the surfeit of Midnight Magic choc ices.
Launched the same month as the Kevin Keegan promoted Goal lolly was Lyons Maid’s low fat alternative to the King Cone and its ilk. It was a frozen Strawberry Yogurt cone. 35 years later, frozen yoghurt becomes a common-ish dessert option at many a superstore’s freezer counter.
Lyons Maid’s discontinued rocket lollies had three flavours in one lollipop: Strawberry, Banana and Raspberry. They were launched in 1963 as a tie-in with Gerry Anderson’s Fireball XL5 series. In their wake there has been several imitators including own brand variants.
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Stop Me and Comment Over One
Feel free to add to the list or elaborate on the 26 entries. Mine’s a Walls Feast, The Doyen Of All Ice Lollies, above the Soleros and Magnums.
Oh, and because we are good like that, you might appreciate Buzz Hawkins’ recollection of Vimto Lollies in an episode of The Bradshaws. Enjoy.
S.V., 08 June 2013.
Substantially updated on the 25 July 2019, the hottest day since weather records began.