John Mackintosh and Sons Ltd; 1921-1981; toffee and chocolate confectionery manufacturers; Norwich, Norfolk

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John Mackintosh and Sons Ltd; 1921-1981; toffee and chocolate confectionery manufacturers; Norwich, Norfolk

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The earliest records to survive derive from the family firm known as Messrs AJ Caley and Son. mineral, table water and ginger beer manufacturers of Bedford Street, and, from 1879, Chapelfield, Norwich. The founder was Albert Jarman Caley, a pharmaceutical chemist. He was later joined in the business by his son, Edward, and by his nephew, Frederick Caley. In 1883, to supply a winter market and to provide all-year employment for his summer workforce, Caley moved into manufacturing drinking cocoa, and three years after that, chocolate confectionery. Additional factory buildings were erected in 1890 and again in the mid 1890s to accomodate the increase of business. A.J. Caley himself, retired in 1893 and died the following year, but Edward and Frederick Caley continued the business. On 6 October 1898, the family firm was incorporated as a limited company, known as AJ Caley & Son Ltd, and remained so-called until 1939. In 1899, the fancy box department expanded into making Christmas crackers, and Caley crackers became well-known within a short space of time. The nearby, rival mineral water manufacturer, Messrs Forster Moore was bought out, and and a subsidiary firm, Forster Moore Ltd was created to market cheaper brands. Rout's cider busness in Banham was also purchased, and continued under the Caley name. The early years of the twentieth century saw the profits and reputation of the chocolate side of the business rise considerably, with nationally known products such as Marching Chocolate (supplied to British soldiers in the trenches). Factories and warehouse in Great Yarmouth and London were added to the business.
Frederick and Albert Caley retired from the business in July 1918, and the company was sold to the African and Eastern Trading Corporation, with high hopes of an even greater expansion of trade. Large, new factory buildings were erected, but this capital investment seemed in vain, for the 1920s saw a global trade depression which dampened demand, and the owners (by now called the United African Corporation) were, perhaps, not sufficiently knowledgable or focussed enough about the chocolate confectionery market to adequately meet such demand as there was. By the early 1930s, the Caley factory was put up for sale, and the toffee manufacturer from Halifax, John Mackintosh and Sons Ltd, was looking to expand into the chocolate confectionery market. In 1932, Mackintosh's bought the Caley business for the bargain price of £138,000.
The two companies, however, remained separate entities, though forming a tight trading and manufacturing partnership. New management, led by Eric D. Mackintosh, younger brother to Harold Mackintosh, the Chairman of Mackintosh's, along with other senior directors from Halifax and London came to Norwich and the factory was reorganised. New chocolate moulding equipment from Germany was installed, and new product lines were created, many of them, such as the Quality Street assortment and Rolo, incorporating both chocolate and toffee elements.
Mackintosh's were mainly interested in the confectionery side of the business. The cider manufactory was sold back to the Routs, and a new, associate company, Caley and Morgans Ltd established to continue the mineral water business.
In 1939, however, it was thought that a formal merger of Caleys and Mackintosh's was commercially desirable, and the former was liquidated and its assets amalgamated with those of the latter. The Norwich end of the Mackintosh business was known as John Mackintosh and Sons Ltd (Caley Branch) although it was still known locally as 'Caleys' and, in fact, a new company, A.J. Caley Ltd, was established to distribute and sell 'Caley' products manufactured at Norwich. Business was brisk despite the outbreak of war, but calamity struck on 29 April 1942, when the factory at Chapelfield was badly damaged by German incendiary bombs. All production ceased in Norwich for the duration of the war, although some of the Caley lines were hurriedly switched to the Halifax factories. Staff were laid off, but senior employees and other key personnel were offered jobs in Halifax.
After the war, the firm demonstrated its continuing commitment to Norwich by recommencing limited production in 1946 and by purchasing additional land on Chantry Road and redesigning and rebuilding the Chapelfield factory. In 1956, a new headquarters building for the company was completed on the Norwich site, and Norwich became Mackintosh's headquarter's location. Several of the surviving records in this archive came to Norwich during this period. Both Caley and Mackintosh branded products continued to be intoduced. The Caley Tray chocolate block, and the Fortune and Cranford chocolate assortments were created and heavily marketed during this period, as were the Mackintosh assortments, Week-End, Good News and, later, Reward. Mintola, Caramac, Toffee Crisp, Munchies and Jelly Tots were also sucessful introductions in the 1950s and 1960s.
In October 1961, it was reported to the local Norwich press that the company had decided to cease manufacturing under the Caley brand, citing increased competition and the desirablity of more focussed marketing using the Mackintosh name only as the reason. However, many locals continued to refer to the business as Caleys for several years after that.
In 1969, Mackintosh's agreed to a merger with their larger, Yorkshire rival, Rowntree and Co. Ltd and the firm became Rowntree-Mackintosh Ltd, with its headquarters in York. The Norwich factory continued to make Rolo, and in the 1970s, a new product, Yorkie, was added, along with new Jensen machinery to manufacture this new bar.
Although the merged company was then one of the biggest confectionery businesses in the world, the late 1970s and early 1980s saw continued speculation over the company's independent future, which eventually culminated in the purchase of Rowntree Mackintosh plc by Nestle UK plc in July 1988. York joined Croydon as the joint-location of Nestle UK plc's headquarters, and, although Norfolk's transport infrastructure had improved sinced the purchase of Caleys by Mackintosh in 1932, still the Norwich factory struggled to overcome the disadvantage of being off the main transport routes. The Norwich end of the business fought a long, losing battle against redundancies, and was finally closed in 1996.
Formed 1921 from voluntary liquidation of the old company, John Mackintosh Ltd. Merged in 1939 with the chocolate manufacturers, A.J. Caley and Sons Ltd of Norwich, though retaining the same title, and again with confectioners, Rowntree and Co. of York, in 1969 to form Rowntree Mackintosh Ltd.


Norwich, Norfolk

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British limited liability, joint stock company

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Toffee and Chocolate Confectionery Manufacturers

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Created on: 24/01/2003 by Drott




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