Records of J.S. Fry and Sons Ltd, chocolate manufacturers, of Somerdale, Keynsham, including:
Records relating to the status of the firm
Records relating to directors and shareholders
Records relating to property
Letter books and correspondence
Records relating to stock and manufacture
Records relating to factory departments
Fry clubs and societies
Scrapbook and presscuttings
Fry family records
The Record Office has agreed to inform Cadbury-Schweppes of any proposed major study based exclusively or substantially on Fry archive material and intended as a source for a published text. An intending author should approach Cadbury's direct to seek consent for publication. Cadbury's will not unreasonably withhold consent, but reserves the right to examine proposed texts and, if considered necessary, to require amendments or to apply a total veto.
|Administrative / biographical background:
A patent for the manufacture of chocolate was first granted to Walter Churchman in 1729. In 1756 Joseph Fry, an apothecary in Small Street, began to sell chocolate and in 1761 on the death of Churchman's son, Charles, he took over their business. Joseph Fry, born in 1728, settled in Bristol in about 1748 and was admitted a freeman in 1753. His first business was in Small Street, but in 1763 soon after buying the Churchman business, he was in Wine Street. In 1777 however, when Union Street was developed, he moved his business there, where it remained until the twentieth century. In the eighteenth century eating chocolate was virtually unknown, and production in Union Street was of tablets of drinking chocolate. Joseph was a Quaker, and a man of many other business interests. On his death, his widow, Anna, carried on the chocolate business with their son, Joseph Storrs Fry (1767-1835). After the death of his mother in 1803, Joseph Storrs Fry took a partner, a Mr. Hunt, but in 1822 his three sons came into partnership with their father and the firm became known as J.S. Fry and Sons, the name it has borne ever since.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, business expanded rapidly. Between 1860 and 1907, Fry's opened seven new factories in Bristol. At the time Fry's became a registered private company in 1896, there were nearly 4,500 employees. Competition became keener in the twentieth century and in 1918, Fry's merged their financial interests with Cadbury Brothers Ltd. and the British Cocoa and Chocolate Company was formed. The records forming this collection cover the period to 1918. In the 1920s Fry's moved their production from Bristol, where room to expand in the city centre was limited, to Keynsham at a new site named Somerdale. In 1935 Fry's became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cadburys.