Britain's Sweet Quaker Heritage

Home » Newsroom » Britain's Sweet Quaker Heritage

At their meeting on Thursday last, Tarvin Meeting Point took a look at the history of some of Britain's most popular confectionery brands and their development in the 18th and 19th centuries by a small number of industrialists who were members of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers.

chocolate

Three members took a closer look at Fry's of Bristol, Cadbury's of Bournville and Rowntree's of York, all of which had started in the general grocery trades but then come to specialise in drinking cocoa. This product was seen, from their temperance background, as a suitable alternative to alcohol for the working man. When technological advances meant that cocoa could be turned into solid chocolate they went of to develop some of the most iconic brands in the world.
All companies were characterized by enlightened employment practices, with the development of workers villages, though this was not just a practice of Quakers, as the work of Robert Owen, Titus Salt and later Lever Bros. showed. But schooling, health care and pensions were usually provided for workers in an age when state social provision was virtually non-existent.
It was unclear why the Quakers had been so dominant in this particular industry, but, being part of a small and tight knit community they may well have shared interests and knowledge between themselves. As non-conformists, many professions were closed to them, and their philanthropy stemmed from a deeply held belief that good, and God, resided in all men, and deserved respect.
The work of some of the charitable trusts set up still continues, particularly the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which still produces analytical studies of social problems. Cadbury's has a long tradition of staff voluntary work within the community. Sadly, none of these great companies are still in British hands, with the recent take-over of Cadbury's by the American Company Kraft, causing much concern as to whether its ethical business spirit will continue.
Needless to say, the evening ended with a chocolate tasting!

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

Fruit Bowl
Tue 19 Mar 6:00am  |  hits: 138

On the 29 October and 16th November 2018, TOL published articles entitled "A very Special Fruit Bowl" and " A Detective Story" respectively, about the local history of a fruit bowl that became a cake basket! Below is the third, and final installment, that brings its history update. Tarvin Tennis club were contacted last year by a lady in Lancashire who sells who sells...

Police theft of bag from car
Fri 22 Mar 6:00am  |  hits: 126

On the morning of 19th March at Tesco, Sealand Road, a shopper was distracted by a male as they placed their shopping in the boot. The male was asking the shopper for help and while they were speaking a second offender stole items such as credit cards from a handbag on the front seat. Don't make it easy for thieves, be aware and report any suspicious persons to the...

THR Pub with Right Answers Scan_20190322 (2)
Sun 24 Mar 6:00am  |  hits: 124

In Jaunuary 1993 the pub with the right answers, at least on Monday evening, was the Tarvin Red lion. The reason was that the licensees, Graham and Brenda Davies had introduced Monday quiz nights to raise money for charity. The answer was right in more than one sense because six months down the line they had raised more than £1000 for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd thanks to the quiz...