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Caleys Factory handmaking chocolates


Norwich's last Rolo...

Did you know that the humble Rolo celebrated its 80th birthday last year? And it was born right here in Norwich...

1857 -  It all starts with Albert Jarman Caley (1829 - 95). Albert is a Chemist at 31 London Street (now Bravissimo!), working in partnership with the wonderfully named Octavius Corder.

1863 -  The pair start making mineral water.

1864 - They then open additional premises on Bedford Street, as drinks side of the business expands.

1874 - The partnership is dissolved, and Corder continues with Chemist business.

1878 - Albert's son Edward joins the business.

1880 - Albert buys former glove factory at Chapelfield, and sinks two deep wells for water for drinks business.

Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF
Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF

1883 - Caley's starts making cocoa to provide winter employment.

1886 - Caley's starts making chocolate...

1890 - Additional factory is built for chocolate production, working alongside drinks factory. Designed by architect Edward Boardman 

1894 - Albert Jarman Caley retires, and is succeeded by his son Edward and nephews Fredrick and Stuart.

1897 - The factory starts making Christmas crackers! Joint stock company A.J. Caley and Sons is formed. 

Caleys Cracker Making- IMAGE COURTESY OF
Caleys Cracker Making- IMAGE COURTESY OF

Turn of 20th century - Caley's start making milk chocolate (Swiss style). Before this, Cadbury's had been the first in the country to produce chocolate in this way,  in 1897.

World War 1 - Caley's begin to supply Marching Chocolate to the troops. This was known as 'Marcho'. 

1918 - Edward Caley sells the company to The Eastern & African Trading Corporation.

1932 - Mackintosh of Halifax (toffee makers) buy Caley's. 

1937 - Rolos first appear. Mackintosh Caley's were soon exporting them to 100 countries from Canada to Cape Verde Islands, Fiji to Finland and Nepal to Nicaragua. During this time, up to 2 tons of Rolos were produced an hour.

1942 - Norwich factory destroyed in a bombing raid.

Caleys Bomb Damage - Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF
Caleys Bomb Damage - Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF

1946 - The rebuilding of the factory commenced and completed in 1952.

1950's - New lines in the 1950's included Munchies and Weekend (chocolates) in 1957, Caramac 1959 and Good News chocolates 1960.

1969 - Rowntrees (York) and Mackintosh merge to form Rowntree Mackintosh.

1970s/1980s - Norwich factory makes up to 40 million Easter Eggs a year.

1988 - Rowntree Mackintosh acquired by Nestle. The Yorkie bar is made in Norwich.

1996 - Norwich factory closes, but Nestle retain the former Rowntree factory in York.

1997 - Former Nestle employees buy the Caley brand from Nestle and start making Caley's chocolate again.

1999 - Caley's is acquired by Unicheq Group in Hampshire - chocolate production moves from Norwich. 

2005 - Chapelfield shopping mall opens on top of the old Caley's site. 

2018 - Rolos still made by Nestle and are on sale all over the world (including Norwich!)

Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF
Caleys Aeiral Shot - IMAGE COURTESY OF

This post was written with thanks to Paul Dickson. If you'd like to learn more about Norwich's chocolate making history (and a lot more besides...) then check out the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell!


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