Index of Ice Cream Products

Lyons Maid Ice Cream

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Courtesy Mike Hocking

Courtesy Terry Chapman





Lyons Maid - The Good Time Sign (Three Dancing Children)

Courtesy Alan Chappel

By the end of the 1960s the Lyons' ice-cream business was disappointing with their market share of hard ice-cream having fallen to 37%. In 1971 it was decided to create a new 'fun food' image and in keeping with other parts of the food group they introduced what became known as the 'slab of cake'. The larger cartons of ice cream displayed cheerful pictures of figures and scenes drawn in children's story-book style. It is not known whether this 'dancing children' image, as it became known, was created by Lyons' own design team or whether an outside agency was commissioned. Between April-September 1971 many promotions were run including a TV campaign which ran continuously during this period.

In January 1973 the 'Good Time Sign', as it was officially known, was introduced on all Lord Neilson's ice cream vans replacing the sign which had been used since 1966. Neilson Holdings Ltd, the ice-cream subsidiary of Associated British Foods, had been acquired by Lyons in 1962. In the same year they also acquired Eldorado from the Union International Company. Progressively from this date the Good Time Sign, or the Three Dancing Children as it is more commonly known, was introduced across all of the Lyons Maid products.

Although the Good Time Sign first appeared on the Neilson ice-cream vans it bore a remarkable resemblance to a logo which had first appeared on Horniman vans in 1936 and the Lyons Maid design was probably based on this. The Horniman tea business was acquired by Lyons in 1918.

The Good Time Sign continued to be used by Lyons Maid until they disposed of their ice-cream business in 1992. They were bought by Clarke Foods Ltd, who went into receivership in October 1992 and the ice-interests were eventually sold to Nestle Ltd later in the year. As far as I know Nestle acquired the production facilities and the brand names of Zoom, FAB, Mivvi etc. Nestle do not appear to use the Good Time Sign and so it must be assumed that the Good Time Sign was last used in 1992.


.© Peter Bird 2002