In the news: York’s con­fec­tionery cen­te­nary

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

In 1962 a proudly in­de­pen­dent York-based con­fec­tioner re­spon­si­ble for some of to­day’s best­known brands was busy cel­e­brat­ing its cen­te­nary. Joseph Rown­tree went into business in 1862, re­tain­ing strong phil­an­thropic con­nec­tions with the Quaker move­ment. Fruit pastilles ar­rived in 1881 and choco­late in 1899 and the fi­firm quickly be­came renowned for how well it treated its em­ploy­ees, pro­vid­ing ev­ery­thing from al­lot­ments to a ball­room.

Rown­tree was strug­gling by early 1930 but went on to pros­per fol­low­ing the launch of such mas­sive hits as Kit-Kat, Smar­ties, Aero and Polo mints. In 1962 was the true in­no­va­tion of After Eights, those in­di­vid­u­ally-wrapped pieces of plain choco­late mint fon­dant squares with­out which no-one has ever been able to leave an In­dian restau­rant.

Rown­tree merged with Mack­in­tosh (Toffo, Qual­ity Street) in 1969 and was the world’s fourth largest con­fec­tionery man­u­fac­turer be­fore Nestlé got its hands on the good­ies after a hos­tile takeover bid in 1988. I’ve never thought the choco­late tastes as good as it once did since then.

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