Benjamin Cribb started his London Store business in Ipswich in 1849. In 1854 Benjamin partnered with J.C. Foote, and Cribb & Foote were formed. The business grew to become an indelible part of Ipswich’s commercial history for 128 years. The Cribb & Foote Families familiar involvement with staff and the community ensured that they commemorated their 50th, 80th and 100th Anniversaries in grand style.
In 1899 Cribb and Foote celebrated their Golden Jubilee Anniversary, (50 years). The firm’s stores were closed for the day and a special train was engaged for the convenience of taking guests to a festive picnic at Hillside (about ten miles west of Ipswich). Swings, cricket and football were the activities of the day. Three local caterers supplied the extravagant menu consisting of roast turkey, fowl and duck, ox tongue, ham, potatoes, peas, salad, cheese, apple pie, currant pie, fruit and blancmange, trifle, jelly and custard, dried fruits, nuts confectionery and a giant six tier jubilee cake. Tables were set out under marquees and tents for the several hundred staff and families and Ipswich residents who had been invited. It was a full day affair ending at 5pm with tea and then the train ride back to Ipswich.
In May 1929, Cribb & Foote celebrated 80 years of business with an “80th Birthday Bargain Sale’ formally opened by the Mayor. The advertisement in the Moreton Bay Courier read:- ‘May 2nd 1929 being the date that Mr Benjamin Cribb founded the business 80 years ago, 10% cash discount will apply at the sale excepting on groceries, proprietary lines and sale bargains’. It also went on to say that if any child under ten years could provide a ticket for the sale bearing the number 80, that child would receive a piece of the huge birthday cake, a Cribb & Foote anniversary candle and a silver coin.
In 1949 Cribb & Foote celebrated 100 years of business in Ipswich. The Queensland Times 2nd May 1949 ran an editorial paying tribute to Cribb & Foote, ‘stressing the friendly co-operation between city and district and between trader and customer with an uplifting effect on community life’. Seven hundred guests attended the Cribb & Foote Centenary Ball held at the Ipswich Showgrounds in June. The waltz, quick step, Jolly Miller, fox trot, polka, two step, samba and Pride of Erin were some of the listed 16 items on the Dance Programme. In June 1949, some 650 people, mostly staff and their families attended the showgrounds for the celebration of the Cribb & Foote Centenary Picnic. This again was a full day event. There was Band music and entertainment and sports events. A buffet was set up especially for the event. At lunch there was a choice of 5 meats plus vegetables, savouries, rolls and nuts and fresh fruit and soft drinks served all day. Afternoon tea was a selection of cakes, biscuits and tea. At 6pm a dinner of fish and chips, frankfurts, bread rolls, savouries and teas were served with fresh fruit and soft drinks served all day.
The Memorial gates at the hockey grounds in Chermside Road were a Centenary gift to Ipswich from Cribb and Foote.
Information taken from Pins, Petticoats and Ploughs by Keith Jarrott