A MASS of information has been published recently regarding the history of Yorkshire confectionery companies.

Friday, 17th August 2012, 2:00 pm

The Quaker religion played a major role in Rowntrees and Terry’s chocolate.

If you wish to learn the origins of Rowntree Fruit Gums and Pastilles a new factory has opened its doors to visitors in York called Chocolate - York’s Sweet Story.

Over at the Piece Hall in Halifax I attended the Toffee King exhibition which celebrates the life of Harold Mackintosh and his Halifax toffee firm which produced such household names as Rolo, Toffee Crisp, Toffo, Weekend, Quality Street and Fox’s Glacier Mints. They merged with Rowntree in 1969.

If you are a liquorice lover like me, particularly Pomfret Cakes, the annual festival in Pontefract, which is organised by local liquorice companies, is a must and takes place in July.

The Spen Valley has made its own contribution to the confectionery world. Walter Smith founded Toffee Smith’s whose famous works were in Oxford Road, Gomersal. He is buried at the Pork Pie Chapel, Gomersal, and his firm closed in the 1990s.

Lion Confectionery has been famous for its Midget Gems since 1902 when it opened its Cleckheaton factory at Westgate, turning out thousands of tonnes of gum-based products every year, and still using a steam boiler form 1926 called Helen!

Paul Chrystal has written a book – Confectioners in Yorkshire through time – and reminds us of Ben Bullock, a Burnley miner who moved to Doncaster in 1868 and set up a stall selling boiled sweets at Dewsbury and Heckmondwike markets.

He introduced what was reputedly the first example of lettered rock and was inundated with orders from seaside resorts all over Britain.

The book is a delight of information for anyone interested in industrial, social, food and marketing history.


Firthcliffe Parade