Wednesday, November 28, 2018

TIL "Mr. Whippy"

That van has a lot more character than the Econovans I tend to see.
credit: freeindex
Via a recent article in the New York Times, a reminder of somewhat unusual alternative chemistry jobs:
The Bank of England has decided to honor a scientist with its next bank note design. One of the nominees? Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister.... 
...Mrs. Thatcher, then Margaret Hilda Roberts, studied chemistry at the University of Oxford, and after graduating went to work as a chemist at J. Lyons, a British restaurant chain that also sold its own lines of food and, for a while, some of the world’s first business computers. 
The claim that Mrs. Thatcher helped invent soft-serve ice cream while at Lyons is widely distributed, even appearing in the address given at her funeral in 2013 by the then bishop of London, who described her as “part of the team that invented Mr. Whippy,” the major British soft-serve brand. 
Charles Moore, her authorized biographer, is skeptical. “She was quite a good chemist as a student at Oxford; she was a serious chemist,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday. She worked at J. Lyons for about 18 months, he said. Of the soft-serve claim, he added: “I’ve never been able to establish that it’s definitely true.”...
As a very big fan of soft-serve ice cream (Dairy Queen, chocolate), I am amused to learn of "Mr. Whippy." Cute vans! 


  1. Don't move to Canada (BC at least) as will be highly disappointed (like my kids are) to find no chocolate soft serve (or twirl mix) in the DQs North of the Border.
    I thought Thatcher had been an Analytical Chemist so maybe her help was is testing the physical properties of various formulations and perhaps verification of flavor (the job I would have wanted).

  2. Cute? Thats is not the word I would use. How about debauchery?

  3. I grew up eating from Mr. Whippy. The Mr Whippy vans were ubiquitous, and broadcast an iconic song called "Greensleeves" which you'd strain your ear listening out for on a hot summer day.

    1. Yes, although most my life I just knew it as the Mr Whippy song.

    2. That's hilarious. In the US, it's probably best known as the tune for the Christmas hymn "What Child is This?"

  4. The photo of that van beings back memories...Mr Whippy, a name from my childhood!


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