J. S. Fry & Sons

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Advertisement c. 1910.
J. S. Fry & Sons
Industry Confectionery
Fate Merged with Cadbury Brothers in 1919. Loss of operational independence in 1967. Original plant closed 2011.
Founded 1761
Parent Kraft Foods

J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd. was a British chocolate company owned by Joseph Storrs Fry and his family. The business went through several changes of name and ownership; it was named J. S. Fry & Sons in 1822. It eventually became a division of Cadbury's; the original manufacturing plant, now part of Cadbury's, was closed after the 2010 takeover of Cadbury's by Kraft Foods.

History[edit]

  • circa 1759 — Joseph Fry, a Quaker, starts making chocolate
  • 1761 — Joseph Fry and John Vaughan purchase the chocolate business of Walter Churchman. Company named Fry, Vaughan & Co.
  • 1777 — Chocolate works move from Newgate Street to Union Street, Bristol
  • 1787 — Joseph Fry dies. Firm is renamed Anna Fry & Son
  • 1795 — Joseph Storrs Fry assumes control. He patents a method of grinding cocoa beans using a Watt steam engine. As a result factory techniques are introduced into the cocoa business.
  • 1803 — Anna Fry dies and Joseph Storrs Fry partners with a Dr. Hunt. The business is renamed Fry & Hunt
  • 1822 — Dr. Hunt retires and Joseph Storrs Fry takes on his sons Joseph, Francis and Richard as partners: the firm is renamed J. S. Fry & Sons. The company becomes the largest commercial producer of chocolate in Britain.
  • 1835 — Joseph Storrs Fry dies and the sons take full control.

In 1847, the Fry's chocolate factory, located in Union Street, Bristol, England, moulded a chocolate bar suitable for large-scale production. The firm began producing the Fry's Chocolate Cream bar in 1866. Over 220 products were introduced in the following decades, including production of the first chocolate Easter egg in UK in 1873 and the Fry's Turkish Delight (or Fry's Turkish bar) in 1914. In 1896 the firm became a registered private company. It was run by the Fry family, with Joseph Storrs Fry II, grandson of the first Joseph Storrs Fry, as the chairman.

An employee of Fry's, H.J Packer, in 1881 established his own chocolate business in Bristol. At its eventual home in Greenbank, Bristol, Packer's Chocolate continued to provide local competition for Fry's until 2006, under various owners and brands, from Bonds through to Famous Names and Elizabeth Shaw.[1]

Somerdale Factory soon after opening

Near the start of World War I the company was one of the largest employers in Bristol. Joseph Storrs Fry II died in 1913. By 1919 the company merged with Cadbury's chocolate and the joint company named British Cocoa and Chocolate Company. Under Egbert Cadbury the Fry's division began the move to Somerdale, Keynsham in 1923. After 1981 the name Fry's was no longer in use at Somerdale, but the factory was still a major producer of Cadbury's products.

Somerdale Factory in 2010

On 3 October 2007, Cadbury announced plans to close the Somerdale plant, the historic home of the Fry's Factory, by 2010 with the loss of some 500 jobs. In an effort to maintain competitiveness in a global marketplace, production was to be moved to a new factory in Poland. Another motivational factor was the high value of the land. Labour MP for Wansdyke, Dan Norris, said, "News of the factory's closure is a hard and heavy blow, not just to the workforce, but to the Keynsham community as a whole".[2]

In February 2010, following the takeover of Cadbury plc by Kraft Foods, the closure was, controversially confirmed to take place in 2011; Kraft had specifically agreed during the takeover battle to keep the site open. There was widespread outrage in the press and later a House of Commons Select Committee investigation into the affair.[3]

Popular culture[edit]

On the BBC television program Being Human, an old Fry's Cocoa billboard hangs prominently on the side of the B&B where the main characters reside in Series 3-5. The billboard is a nod to the show's original Bristol location.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Greenbank Factory History". John Penny. 
  2. ^ "Cadbury factories shed 700 jobs". BBC News. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ "Cadbury's Bristol plant to close by 2011". BBC News. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  4. ^ "BBC Three's Being Human moves from Bristol to Wales". BBC News. 29 January 2010. 

External links[edit]