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

County of Shopkeepers and Jokers

Book Cover

Yorkshire has been the birthplace of many retail organisations. Where would the high street be without  Asda,  Morrisons and Marks & Spencer just for example.

More to the point where have names like Burtons the Tailors and Crockatts the Cleaners gone? Both these businesses owed their start to the Burmantofts area in Leeds.

Asda only became nationally known in 1965 having been Associated Dairies and Farm Stores prior to that. The original dairies grew from the advent of milk pasturisation in the 19th century and by the early 20th  Century West Marton and Grassington dairies combined to become Craven Dairies a subsidiary company of Hindell’s Dairy Farmers.  In 1928 Hindell’s expanded into selling pork products and by the end of the second world war had nine companies, eight dairies, two bakeries and various farms employing over 1200 people.

In the 1960’s a bingo hall in Castleford was converted into a supermarket by the Asquith family with late night opening and ‘Permanent Reductions’. They offered Associated Dairies, formerly Hindell’s,  the fresh food and meat concession but a merger was agreed and a new company Asda Stores Ltd was formed. The move southward was started by the purchase ‘Gem’ supermarket in Nottingham and the opening of a store in Chelmsford. Loaded with debt in the 1980’s Archie Norman was brought in to revitalise Asda until the American outfit Walmart took over.

Marks & Spencer has just finished a sales promotion celebrating 125 years since the business was started in Leeds . Michael Marks an immigrant fro Russia started peddling goods around the Leeds villages before taking a pitch at Leeds open market. Working hard he also took pitches in Castleford and Wakefield until Leeds covered market opened with 6 day trading.   Using sales patter that included ‘don’t ask the price it’s a penny’ and the ‘original penny bazaar’ he probably taught modern day ‘Poundshops’  just how to do it.

Many penny bazaars were opened in the late 1890’s and original lines for sale were supplied under six categories, Haberdashery, Hardware, Toys, Stationery, Earthenware and  Household Goods. In 1894 Thomas Spenser the bookkeeper at Marks’ supplier joined Michael Marks and thus Marks and Spencer was formed.  By the end of 1900 they had 12 shops and 24 market stalls and the headquarters was moved from Leeds to a modern warehouse in Manchester. Thomas Spencer died in his 50’s and Marks was only 48 when he also died but the growth of the company continued so that by the 1914 war there were 140 outlets across the country.  Jumping forward to 2009 and ‘Your M&S’ the latest incarnation it make you wonder how much more could have been achieved if Micheal Marks had lived another 20 years.


William Murdock Morrison was born in Chickenley Wakefield, adopted at seven and apprenticed to a Bradford grocer. In 1899 he set up his own business based on a market stall with closeable curtains. This was similar in format to other grocery retailers like Redmans, Maypole and Drivers. The depression was a time of problems for the business but in 1931 Kenneth Morrison was born (Ken also had two sisters.)  The main shop in Rawson Market Bradford was bombed during the war. In 1950 Ken Morrison was doing National Service when his father died. Ken’s mother a strong lady with great sales skills wanted to know if she should keep the business going for Ken’s return and we know the answer. In 1958 keen to exploit the new self-service concept they were looking for suitable premises. In 1961 they opened in the former Victoria Cinema at Girlington and then Bolton Junction on the other side of the Bradford. Morrisons also innovated with the first supermarket  petrol station on their Morley site. Ken Morrison was knighted in the millennium honours list and the takeover of Safeways was digested by the enlarged group before Ken recently took a well earned retirement.

M&S logos from Designer Blogspot

Ecology Building Society 35 Year Old

Scarborough Building Society was formed in May 1846 – making it the oldest building society in Yorkshire and the second oldest in the UK. The Ecology Building Society on the other hand is one of the youngest Building Societies starting trading in 1981. It was founded after a conference of the Ecology Party now called The Green Party. ( I don’t think they will be renaming the building society but you never know after the latest European Elections).

The Society is building a reputation in several niche areas adding to its original early strength with mortgages for ‘smallholdings’ and buildings in need of renovation. It works with Housing Associations and Co-operatives to encourage the refurbishment of terrace houses and the use of brown field sites rather than the indiscriminate new build we so often see.

They provide a series of interesting Ecology based pdf’s for those wanting more information The new head office in Silsden, pictured above, was designed to have an airtight structure, high levels of insulation and low energy requirements. Photovoltaic panels were installed to generate electricity from the sun plus a heat exchanger and a high-efficiency condensing boiler have been installed.
The sedum natural roof serves to replace bird and insect habitat and the surroundings were designed to protect bio diversity. Rain water harvesting provides the water for several purposes and the materials used were from renewable sources or recycled. If you are thinking of applying for a mortgage, addressing these issues in your application in relation to your property, may help you.

Savings accounts may also be available as the Ecology Building Society is authorised & regulated by the Financial Services Authority (registration number 162090). They subscribe to the Banking Code, copies of which are available from them on request and are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Yorkshire’s Sweet Tooth

Liquorice Loot


Pomfret is an early name for Pontefract and as most Yorkshire children know, Pontefract is the heart of Yorkshires liquorice making. Around the time of the Battle of Hastings, French monks arrived in Pontefract with liquorice plants for medicinal and stomach purposes and locals created a cottage industry that led to such treats as ‘Yorkshire Pennies’ ‘Catherine Wheels’, Pomfret cakes, Bootlaces and other sweetmeats made from chewy black liquorice.
Pomfret cakes or Pontefract cakes were first created when sugar was added to the liquorice stock and an image of the Norman castle stamped into the round black sweet that was created. The castle has a morbid history Richard II was imprisoned and probably murdered, in Pontefract Castle in 1400. In 1648 to March 1649 Oliver Cromwells New Model Army was engaged in the successful siege of Pontefract Castle that led to its ruination. ‘Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison’ as Shakespeare put it in his play Richard III.

Fast forward to the 1840’s when a Sheffield business Bassett and Lodge started a confectionery business that eventually created ‘Liquorice Allsorts’. The Allsorts mix apocryphally was created by a clumsy salesman who spilt a tray of various liquorice creams and sweets in a pattern that appealed to the customer. In 1918 they started to manufacture jelly products called ‘Peace Babies’ which we all now know and love as Jelly Babies. In the 1920’s as a logo the company created “Bertie Bassett,” a human like figure made up of liquorice allsorts. On the strength of the liquorice products such as Ju-Jubes and the Allsorts, Bassett’s bought other brands that included Victory V Lozenges, Zubes, Sherbet Fountains and Beech Nut. I fondly remember the beech nut chewing gum machines which vended an extra packet every 3rd or 4th purchase, what fun it seemed to be getting something for nothing.
Mint based products from Bassett’s included Mint Imperials, Murray Mints and Clarnico Mint Creams.

Needlers started making boiled sweets in Hull in 1886. One of their key innovations was to start selling sweets in clear glass jars rather than the bottle-green glass that had been used previously. All sweets and chocolates were unwrapped and Needles were producing over 2000 tons a year by the early 1920’s but in 1928 they invested in a wrapping machine.
By the 1970’s the chocolate business was loosing money and unfortunately had to be closed but investment in the sugar based lines led to the introduction of the Sensation’ range of vacuum packed mints and fruit pastilles. Needlers bought Batgers Ltd the makers of Jersey Toffee and moved production to Hull.

Thorntons first Chocolate Kabin opened in Sheffield in 1911 aiming to be the best sweetshop in town. Easter and the production of special and named Easter eggs became an important part of business for Thorntons. Then special toffee was created in 1925 and production required larger premises in Penistone Road Sheffield. The chocolate business developed by focusing on quality and learning from contenetal manufacturers particularly in Holland and Belgium. The business floated on the stock market but unfortunately the business moved downmarket into Derbyshire. There is still likely to be a Thorntons Kabin near you (based on my post code I found 6 shops within 10 miles).

See an earlier report on Maxons boiled sweets.  All this and still no mention of Rowntrees, Macintoshes,  Terrys, Yorkshire Mixtures or even Farrah’s Original Harrogate Toffee. If you have a favourite Yorkshire sweet that I have missed   send us a comment below.
Thanks to Maurice Baren ‘How it All Began in Yorkshire’ and The Oldest Sweet Shop in England at Pateley Bridge.

Pontefract Cakes
Liquorice Loot by Jon Åslund CC BY 2.0