TIPTREE jam maker Wilkin and Sons said it is with "great sadness" it is closing one its tea rooms after the company recorded a £1.8m loss this year.

The Lordship Tea Room in Writtle - which employs up to 20 staff - will not have its lease renewed in September, but the company’s nine other tea rooms are expected to continue trading.

The company said The Lordship was not performing as well as its other tea rooms.

The company’s 2023 end of year statement said it was looking to "gradually filter out the weaker-performing sites".

Directors - Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Wilkin and Sons (Left) with Walter Scott, Chairman (Right) Directors - Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Wilkin and Sons (Left) with Walter Scott, Chairman (Right) (Image: Tiptree)

Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Wilkin and Sons, thanked his team and customers for their support over the years.

He said: “The last few years have, however, been very challenging for hospitality businesses, including our own, and it is with great sadness that we will not be renewing our lease come September."

Regarding the future of the remaining nine tea rooms, eight of which are in Essex, Mr Goodfellow said: “Our tea rooms are an important part of our business, and we want to retain and develop our existing estate.

“We continuously review our operations and are working very hard across all of our locations to come through the current challenges.”  

Tea - The Essex Rose Tea Room in DedhamTea - The Essex Rose Tea Room in Dedham (Image: Wilkin & Sons)

Sales hit a record high last year, with exports reaching £10million for the first time.

However, the unprecedented rise in energy costs meant Wilkin and Sons had to switch from three-year to two-year contracts and they recorded an £1.8million loss, after a £1.1million profit the previous year.

The increasing costs of raw materials, including glass and packaging, has meant that the jam company has reduced the size of its jars from 454g to 340g, while keeping the price about the same. 

Wilkin and Sons' planning application to Colchester Council in 2023 for solar panels to help save energy costs and cut its carbon footprint have been approved.

The installation will be carried out in in two phases, with the first stage containing 10,380 panels and the second phase providing a further 5,000.