21 stunning old photographs of York’s chocolate factories

16 Jul 2016 @ 6.59 pm
| Entertainment, History
Loving the head-scarves, ladies. There was time for style and a smile on the production line. Photographs: York's Chocolate Story
Loving the head-scarves, ladies. There was time for style and a smile on the production line even when it was converted for war work. Photographs: York’s Chocolate Story

No wonder they’re smiling. They worked with chocolate. Every day.

Well, almost every day. This wonderfully evocative picture from York Chocolate Story’s Chocolate and the People of York exhibition actually shows workers packing fuses for the war effort.

Chocolate and the People of York

York’s Chocolate Story

Every day, 10am-4pm

from £8.95

Details and tickets

Now, the city’s former confectionery workers have been invited to a special get-together in September to browse the exhibition and to share their memories and stories with researchers from York Past & Present who are launching an official oral history project delving into the fascinating history of this key industry.

Exhibition coordinator Jenni Shepherd said:

We’re thrilled to be working with York Past & Present to archive some of the wonderful stories our visitors have told us over the years.

I’m I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our event might see some reunions from the packing lines

If you worked in York’s confectionery industry and would like to attend the event, contact Jenni at [email protected] or 01904 527722.

In the meantime, let’s sit back and unwrap a few tasty snaps, courtesy of York’s Chocolate Story.

At work

Happy days at the Rowntree factory (the lady in the middle looks like a hoot, doesn't she?)
Happy days at the Rowntree factory

chocolate-worker

Shiny helmets and smart suits - a winning combination for Rowntree's fire brigade in 1910
Shiny helmets and smart suits – a winning combination for Rowntree’s fire brigade in 1910

handsome-worker

Lunchtime in Terry's canteen (bet nobody opted for the chocolate pudding)
Lunchtime in Terry’s canteen (bet nobody opted for the chocolate pudding)
Eggciting times on the packing line - it looks a bit chaotic to modern eyes but we're sure these ladies knew what they were doing
Eggciting times on the packing line – it looks a bit chaotic to modern eyes but we’re sure these ladies knew what they were doing

chocolate-workers

chocolate-packers

A Rowntree's bean checker (it'll take him ages to do all these)
A Rowntree’s bean checker (it’ll take him ages to do all these)
Decorating each chocolate by hand (yes, really)
Decorating each chocolate by hand (yes, really)

At play

Proof that it always rains on sports day - the slightly damp spectators at Rowntree's company sports day in 1948. Photograph: Societe des Produits Nestle S.A
Proof that it always rains on sports day – the slightly damp spectators at Rowntree’s company sports day in 1948. Photographs: Societe des Produits Nestle S.A
An enthusiastic worker opts for height over speed at Rowntree's sports day
An enthusiastic worker opts for height over speed at Rowntree’s sports day

sack-race-winners

Having a ball - Rowntree's workers are entertained in the company ballroom
Having a ball – Rowntree’s workers are entertained in the company ballroom
Crowds gather at Rowntree's sports day prize-giving (all hoping it's cash and not chocolate)
Crowds gather at Rowntree’s sports day prize-giving (all hoping it’s cash and not chocolate)

prize-winner

teatime

Members of Rowntree's brass band blow off a bit of steam in their spare time
Members of Rowntree’s brass band blow off a bit of steam in their spare time

wartime-party

It must be one heck of a big Yorkie on the end of that rope
It must be one heck of a big Yorkie on the end of that rope