Joseph Terry & Sons: Chocolate Manufacturers

Terrys packaging - York Castle Museum

Joseph Terry, who was born in Pocklington, came to York to serve as an apprentice apothecary in Stonegate, before setting up shop as a chemist in Walmgate.  His life took a different turn in 1823 when he married Harriet Atkinson, a relative of Robert Berry who had a small confectionery business.  He gave up his Walmgate operation and joined Berry business in St Helen’s Square.

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

Joseph Terry was on his own, and soon enjoyed a reputation for cakes and comfits, sugared sweets, candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges.  He quickly made use of the railways, sending small quantities of his products to towns all over the North of England, into the Midlands and down to Luton and London.

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.

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

The price list of 1867 had 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 (the Terry name is still on the front of the building).

In 1926, Terry’s moved again, 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 by multinational food corporation Kraft in 1993, which closed the York factory on September 30, 2005, with production moving to other plants in Europe.


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