Heritage is a bit of a buzz word these days, rather like ‘vintage’. It’s a good word; in fact we like it so much we’ve made it the loose theme of this issue.
Of course it means different things to different people, which is fine. The first thing folk tend to think of is old buildings, or museums, or aging relics, like the Rolling Stones.
But one of the most interesting things to emerge when we started putting the magazine together was the existence, in Norfolk, of the national advertising archive.
None of us had even heard about it, which was a surprise, give that we’ve all been in the publishing trade for quite a while. Every day you learn something.
I was explaining to a young person that, not many years ago, there was a chocolate factory right in the heart of Norwich.
She was agog. Her jaw dropped and her mouth was open wide enough for me to have lobbed in a couple of Toffos, had they still existed and been to hand.
I explained that the city centre was treated to a deliciously warm chocolatey aroma when the vats were going at full chat and that a school trip to Rowntree Mackintosh was, unarguably, the best thing that would ever happen to a Norfolk schoolchild. It was simply a coach ride straight to heaven.
I remember the excitement of the arrival, the going round the necessary dull bits (‘Here we use cornflour to make the moulds for the soft-centred chocolates...’) Like we were interested.
Jiggling with impatience we’d wait, before the guides eventually relented and let us hit the samples. Finally, gorged with Weekend chocolates, Caramac, Mint Cracknel, Rolos, Munchies, every flavour of Toffo going and glazed with sweetness we’d climb back on the bus, clutching a goody bag in case the near diabetic levels of sugar we’d consumed needed topping up. It was the best day ever. Oddly, there were no concerns about childhood obesity...
Now, of course, the temple of sweet temptation has been replaced by a temple of retail temptation and memories of that wonderful old factory are a part of the city’s industrial heritage. It may be wishful thinking but some days I’m sure I can still catch a whiff of those glorious, sweet aromas.
Sweet heaven – Rowntree Mackintosh’s factory in 1969