FORMER politician Michael Portillo’s travels along Great British railways have brought him to Tiptree.

The town is the home of John Joseph Mechi, the inventor and experimental farmer, who rebuilt Tiptree Hall and founded the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

Former Cabinet minister Mr Portillo arrived at Wilkin and Sons jam factory carrying his Bradshaw Guide dating from the 1880s, the descriptive railway handbook of Great Britain which mentions Mr Mechi.

During his visit, Mr Portillo spoke to Ian Thurgood, joint managing director of Wilkin and Sons about the life and work of Mechi.

They also visited the farm and jam museum where a gentleman’s travelling box is displayed.

Mr Thurgood said: “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.

“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.”

The programme will be screened on Tuesday at 6.30pm on BBC 2.