There was wailing on the streets of Bradford as Kingsburton closed the last crumpet factory operating in Britain.
"We have been making crumpets in Bradford for nearly four hundred years," said Kingsburton spokesman, Hillary Hovis. "Unfortunately, it's no longer economical for us to do so."
Kingsburton have cited the increased cost of employing people to put the holes in the crumpets, and the cheaper imports coming in from Portugal.
"When the child labour costs came in," said Hovis, "we could no longer employ children to put the holes in crumpets. This severely increased the manufacturing costs. Additionally, children's more nimble fingers were far more suited to wielding the crumpet bradawl. We did employ small stature women, but the life expectancy of a master crumpet bradawler is only thirty-five and some of these women were coming to us aged twenty. That's barely enough time to get them trained up to the required standard."
The closure of the crumpet factory has left one hundred and twenty crumpet bradawlers out of work, along with the two bakers who would produce the flat bread that would become crumpets.
"It's terrible," said Winfrey Oppenheimer, a crumpet bradawler of some fifteen years. "Pete and Geoff are easy going to find work as bakers at some local Greggs or Hamptons making pasties. But what are we going to do? Bradawling is skilled work, but highly specialised. I don't know what else I could do!"
Some of the crumpet bradawlers will find work in Britain's blooming cribbage board manufacturing industry, but there are not enough vacancies in that industry to take them all.
"It's out of our hands," admitted Hovis. "Although the mechanical processing used by the Portuguese is efficient and allows them undercut us, they do not take the butter as well as a hand bradawled crumpet. The firm upright pipes are yielding but strong enough to take a smearing of jam or a nice piece of cheese. It is a sad day, and possibly the end of crumpets in Britain."
Smutty comedians will be relieved to know that although crumpets are no longer manufactured in Britain, they can still refer to sex as crumpet with impunity, although now they will have to do it in Portuguese.