How to find chocolate makers in your family history

By Guest, 1 November 2018 - 5:48pm

After last week's trip to Sheffield, BBC Two series Made in Great Britain heads further north to York to explore the city's chocolate making history. Nell Darby looks at three online resources to help you research the topic further

Made in Great Britain: Chocolate
In the second episode of Made in Great Britain, the craftworkers explore the history of chocolate. L-R: Paul A Young, Jason Stocks-Young, Claire de Lune and Steph McGovern (Credit: BBC/Endemol Shine/ Rudi Gordon)

Following last week's visit to Sheffield, tomorrow at 9pm (Friday 2 November), BBC Two series Made in Great Britain travels further north to York – once home to confectionery giant, Rowntree's.

Along with her team of modern-day craftworkers, Steph McGovern looks at the fascinating story behind Britain's love affair with all things sweet and sugary, while turning their hands to making some traditional chocolates themselves.

In addition to York, confectionery was also a prominent part of other major cities such as Birmingham (where Cadbury's built the suburb of Bournville to accommodate its large workforce) and Bristol (where Fry's manufactured the first ever chocolate bar).

It is therefore likely that many of us will have an ancestor who worked within the industry during the 19th or 20th centuries. You may also find a forebear that sold chocolate and confectionery, even if he or she did not actually make the products.

Here are three online resources that will help you explore the topic further:

 

Cadbury: Our Story

Cadbury: Our Story

The Cadbury website includes a history of the company that lets you click on a time period and explore more aspects of the business in Birmingham and elsewhere.

 

My ancestor was a confectioner

My ancestor was a confectioner website

Annie Gray, who worked on 2017 BBC series The Sweet Makers, has written an in-depth article about the history of the confectionery industry, along with details of the best books on the subject.

 

York's Chocolate Story

York's Chocolate Story website

Opened in 2012, York's Chocolate Story is a visitor attraction that allows the public to explore the history of the city's confectionery industry up-close. If you can't travel to York, the museum's website features a section containing real-life stories from men and women who worked at Rowntree's and Terry's.
 

Don't miss the November 2018 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine for much more expert family history advice

 

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