The jam jar is a wondrous thing!  Think, what  life be like  without the humble jam jar?  Taken for granted, the jam jar plays a vital role in everyday life. Simple, sleek and sealable, these amazing vessels, with a good food grade twist on/off lid, provide a place of safety for so many foods and not just jam! Peer in your cupboard or walk around any food shop or supermarket, they are there, omnipresent in their hordes holding, protecting, accommodating foods that would otherwise perish or spoil.

Preserving, recyclable, reusable the value of the ‘ordinary’ jam jar has been long recognised and not just for putting jam in! There are masses of uses for an empty jam jar: storing spices, herbs and kitchen things; for hoarding nails, screws, pins, buttons and bits of string; for soaking seeds of peas and   portly beans; short-term homes for tadpoles and wriggly things, whilst  their simplicity makes them a perfect vessel to show off a  bunch of freshly gathered flowers.

However, the depression years of the late 1920’s saw another value for the jam jar when workingmen’s clubs in the industrial towns and cities of northern England allowed admission by  jam jar instead of money. Glass  jam jars were precious, and a returnable deposit was paid when a pot of jam was bought. Thus the jam jar became an astute currency; one empty jar allowed entry to  the social clubs which in time  was replaced by entry to the cinema. What a great idea!

This tradition still continues today at the cinema in Whitely Bay, North Tyneside  www.jamjarcinema.com where  any one under 18 or over 60 in to see selected screenings for free if they bring along a Jam Jar.  Think I know what I’ll do for my 60th birthday!

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