Terry’s of York – A Bite of History

Chocolate Orange
Can you see what it is yet? Yes you probably guessed it is a mug!

Some History of Terry’s of York

What do an apothecary, confectioner and citrus peel importer have in common? When one of them was Joseph Terry you may make the connection to Terry and Berry the forerunner to Terry’s of York. Joseph Terry married into the partnership that had worked from 1767 and brought his Apothecary skills to the business with a factory in Brearley Yard and a shop next to the Mansion House.
Early products included candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges as wel as cakes and confections. In the early 19th century the conversation lozenges bore messages a bit like modern day Love Hearts such as ‘Can you Polka’ and the racy ‘Do you flirt’. After the arrival of the railway to York Terry was selling his Coltsfoot Rock, Jujubes, Gum balls and Acid drops to many towns throughout the country. (Price 52/- per cwt Mmmm a sweet price).
Joseph Terry was born in Pocklington in 1793 the son of a local baker. He grew up in the town before moving to York and starting out in business as an apothecary, then switching to making cakes and confectioneries.
Joseph Terry died in 1850 but his 3 sons including Joseph jnr took the business forward building a Chocolate factory in Clementhorpe in 1887. The business grew through two world wars and remained in family ownership and management until 1960. It then passed through various corporate hands including Forte, Colgate Palmolive, United Biscuits, Philip Morris, Kraft and Suchards.
The family were civic minded and Joseph Terry jnr was Lord Mayor of York during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The war office recognised the value of chocolate for the troops before the first world war as being of benefit ‘…..on the march, at manoeuvers or any occasion when staying power is needed’. Between the wars new products were created including Spartan and All Gold.

Pocklington is obviously proud of Joseph Terry and wrote a longer biopic on it’s web site From the son of a Pocklington baker to founding one of the greatest of York’s businesses – Terry’s of York

Terry's Chocolate Works, York
Terry’s Chocolate Works York

Contemporary History of Terry’s of York

Sadly in 2004 the production at York was stopped and transferred to Europe bringing an end to a proud Yorkshire food manufacturing operation. The old factory isn’t Terry’s anymore it’s For Sale as The Press report

Other products you may remember include Neapolitans, Twighlight, Spartan, Waifa, and York Fruits. I am not sure the other fruit product below were quite the success of the Chocolate Orange that goes right back to the companies origins as peel importers. In fact I never saw a Chocolate Banana or the Chocolate Apple for that matter.

There is a packaging display at York’s Castle Museum and more information from York history
For those interested in Confectionery there is a great American blog
By the time of Joseph Terry’s death in 1850 his firm, Terry’s of York, was the city second biggest employer, and under successive generations of the family it became a world famous chocolate manufacturer that is still renowned to this day for such delicacies as ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ and ‘Terry’s All Gold’. Sadly it fell into the hands of the American food giant Kraft in 1992and the factory was closed in 2005.

Terry's All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates

Photo Credits
Chocolate Orange by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Terry’s Chocolate Works, York by True British Metal CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Terry’s All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates by hemanth.hm CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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5 Responses to Terry’s of York – A Bite of History

  1. Mr J Hawthorne July 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    My wife asked me to find out if you can still purchase Terry’s Spartan Chocolates?. Looking forward to your help and reply.

    • Hortoris July 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Ask Jeeves says ‘You can buy Terry’s Spartan chocolates online from websites such as ‘Retonthenet’ for about £18.00. The chocolates cannot be found in UK as the company that produced them was bought by Kraft foods in 1993 and the factory was closed down in 2005. However you can get the chocolates in countries like Poland, Sweden, Slovakia and Belgium.’ (I wonder if they will taste the same)
      Perhaps we should check the Polish shops that seem to be opening up everywhere as £18.00 seems a lot to this Yorkshireman

    • b ridsdale December 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      please tell me do terrys. still m ake sparten chocalates.

  2. Mr m taverner November 28, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    Where and how can I get a box of Spartan chocolates for christmas

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