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Michael Portillo calls in to Tiptree for Great British Railway Journeys

By DarrylWebber  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

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Michael Portillo's latest series of Great British Railway Journeys takes him to Tiptree on Tuesday, January 28.

The former politician calls into the Essex town to find out more about John Joseph Mechi, the Victorian philanthropist, inventor and experimental farmer who tried radical methods to make land more productive around Tiptree.

Michael Portillo arrived at Wilkin & Sons in Tiptree with his trusty Bradshaw's railway guide in hand that mentions Mechi, who also rebuilt Tiptree Hall.

During his visit, Portillo met Peter Wilkin, chairman of the jam and conserves manufacturer, and Ian Thurgood, managing director, and spoke to them about the life and work of Mechi.

"We have a small collection of Mechi memorabilia in the Jam Museum and we were also able to show Michael some original Mechi boxes from a private collection during his visit," said Ian Thurgood.

"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."

Tiptree used to be on the branch line between Kelvedon and Tollesbury. Nicknamed the Crab And Winkle Line, it was closed in 1962.

Michael Portillo's visit to Tiptree is featured in the episode of Great British Railway Journeys broadcast on Tuesday, January 28 at 6.30pm on BBC2.

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