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Terry's of York: The history of the chocolate maker

Terry's factory, York
Terry's moved to the Bishopthorpe Road site in 1926

Joseph Terry was born in Pocklington and served as an apprentice apothecary in York before setting up shop as a chemist in Walmgate.

In 1823 he married Harriet Atkinson, a relative of Robert Berry who had a small confectionery business. Joseph Terry gave up his shop and joined Berry's business in St Helen's Square.

Shortly afterwards Robert Berry died and his son George joined with Joseph in a business with the splendid name of Terry & Berry. George left the business in 1828.

Joseph Terry was now on his own and soon gained a reputation for cakes and comfits, sugared sweets, candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges.

By the time of his death in 1850, the Terry name was becoming known around Britain. It was his son, Joseph junior, who built on these foundations and expanded it into a major concern.

Terry's packaging - York Castle Museum. Copyright York Museums Trust
In 1867 Terry's were producing 400 items but only 13 were chocolate

Within four years of taking over Joseph leased a riverside site at Clementhorpe. The River Ouse allowed a connection to the Humber estuary and the North Sea which brought sugar, cocoa, other ingredients and coal needed for the new steam-powered machinery at Joseph Terry & Sons.

The price list of 1867 mentioned 400 items but, at the time, only 13 were chocolate. As products were perfected and demand grew, a specialised chocolate section was built. The St Helen's Square premises were retained as a shop and restaurant and the Terry name can still be seen on the front of the building.

In 1926, Terry's moved to a purpose-built factory off Bishopthorpe Road. It was here that some of the most enduring brands were created: All Gold was first produced in 1930, the Chocolate Orange a year later.

Terry's was taken over in 1993 by multinational food corporation Kraft, which closed the York factory on September 30, 2005, with production moving to other plants in Europe.

York based Grantside Ltd purchased the site for re-development to include homes, offices, hotels and shops. The company estimates the development would create around 2,500 jobs.

In August 2008, the initial planning application was refused by the City of York Council's planning committee. Councillors felt the site would be over-developed, which they said would cause traffic problems in the area. The council also received more than 30 letters of objection to the original proposals.

Grantside Ltd completely revised the scheme which was approved by planners in February 2010.

Terry's site development approved
04 Feb 10 |  North Yorkshire
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