Joseph Terry

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Sir Joseph Terry Kt JP (7 January 1828 – 12 January 1898) was a British industrialist and local Conservative politician who was seen as a driving force behind the success of the confectionery company Terry's.

Sir Joseph Terry
JosephTerry by GeorgeFall.jpg
Alderman Sir Joseph Terry by George Fall
Lord Mayor of York
In office
6 November 1874 – 23 March 1875
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by John March
Succeeded by Edward Rooke
In office
12 January 1885 – 9 February 1887
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by John Close
Succeeded by Joseph Sykes Rymer
In office
6 March 1890 – 14 June 1891
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by Phillip Matthews
Succeeded by John Close
Personal details
Born Joseph Terry
(1828-01-07)7 January 1828
Pocklington, England
Died 12 January 1898(1898-01-12) (aged 70)
The Royal York Hotel, York, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Education St Peter's School, York
Occupation Industrialist, Politician

Early life[edit]

Terry was born in Pocklington, England,[1] to the confectioner and co-founder of Terry's of York, Joseph Terry and his wife Harriet Atkinson, the daughter of a successful farmer from Leppington, North Yorkshire.[2] He was educated at the independent St Peter's School, York due to the family's wealth obtained from the confectionery industry. It is thought that Terry had a comfortable upbringing, with his father's business being well established by the time of his birth, through considerable business acumen and the usage of the expanding railway network to supply his products to a growing market during the 1830s. He established retail agencies in 75 towns, mainly in the north, but also in the Midlands, Luton and London,[3] and in 1836 he was a leading figure in establishing a trade association in London to protect the quality of confectionery products. At the time of his death, the business had 127 staff, second only to the York glass works as the city's largest employer.[2]

Terry's of York[edit]

After the death of his father in 1850, Terry took over the business, together with his two brothers, Robert and John.[4] In 1864 he expanded the business by building a steam-powered factory in York, by the River Ouse; in the same way that his father had used the railway to further the business, Terry saw the benefits of having easy access to the Humber Estuary and the North Sea. Sugar, cocoa and other ingredients, as well as coal for the steam-powered machinery, were brought in twice a week on steam boats. His brothers, Robert and John died in 1871 and 1874, and although both had children, none of their descendants decided to enter into the company. Two years later there were 400 separate items in the firm’s price list, mostly chocolate products. Although many of the company’s products were chocolate-based, Terry’s only became established as a chocolate maker in 1886 when Joseph built a new factory specifically for their chocolate products. The company also applied for its first trademark in 1876, ‘Joseph Terry’s and Sons’. The business was later incorporated as Joseph Terry & Sons Ltd. in 1895, by which time it had over 300 employees.[5]

Political career[edit]

Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Terry was able to commence a successful public career due to his successful business and philanthropic approach to the citizens of York. He was granted Freedom of the City in 1850, and through his public presence, was elected as a Conservative Councillor for the Monk Ward area, close to the Strays of York. He would later become Chairman of the York Conservative Association, as well as a Sheriff of York in 1870 through his noted success in local Government.[6] He was then sporadically elected four times for the position of Lord Mayor of the city from 1874 to 1891, often in competition with the renowned businessman and writer John Close. During his time in office, he was made an alderman of the city and was subsequently knighted in 1887 by Queen Victoria in her Golden Jubilee Honours of 1887 and was also granted arms by the College of Arms in recognition of his contribution to both business and local politics. He also continued chairmanship of several other organizations, including; the York Art Gallery, the New York Waterworks Company and the Merchant Adventurers' Hall.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1864, Terry married Frances, the daughter of Dr Joseph Goddard. They had three sons before she died in 1866. In 1871 he married Margaret, the daughter of William Thorpe of Aldborough House, Malton, Yorkshire, with whom he had a son and three daughters.[8] His eldest son, Thomas, became a partner in the business in 1880, and is known to have expanded commerce to Australia and New Zealand.[2]

Final Years[edit]

He died of heart failure at the Royal Station Hotel (now The Royal York Hotel) on 12 January 1898, after attempting to win a by-election in the city. Terry was buried at York Cemetery on 15 January 1898.[3]


  1. ^ "Joseph Terry & Sons: Chocolate Manufacturers: History of York". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Pocklington History - Joseph Terry". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Joseph Terry". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Joseph Terry | The Rowntree Society". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Terry's Chocolate Dynasty". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Joseph Terry | York Libraries and Archives". York Archives & Libraries Catalogue. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Joseph Terry - York Cemetery". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Archived Report - Terry's Chocolate Orange". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 

Coordinates: 53°56′26″N 1°05′23″W / 53.94068°N 1.089596°W / 53.94068; -1.089596