What is Terry’s of York?
Terry’s of York is a familiar British chocolate and confectionery maker. Find out how a pair of citrus peel importers led to the famous Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
How it started
In 1767, Robert Berry opened a shop at Bootham Bar in York. He sold cough lozenges, imported candied peel and sweets. He joined with William Bayldon to form Bayldon and Berry Confectionery.
Early in the nineteenth century, Joseph Terry moved from Pocklington to York. He did an apprenticeship at an apothecary in Stonegate.
Later, Joseph set up his own chemist shop in Walmgate. In 1823, he married Harriet Atkinson – the niece of Robert Berry.
Robert Berry died in 1825. His son George persuaded Terry to join the family firm. They renamed the business Terry and Berry.
George left the business in 1828. His partner renamed it Terry’s of York.
Thanks to Terry’s training as a chemist, he could develop new lines of chocolate, confectionary, sugared sweets, candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges.
His factory was in Brearley Yard while his shop was in St Helen’s Square. This was close to the Mansion House which was a desirable location.
Terry took advantage of the developing railways. This allowed them to distribute his products across the country.
In 1850, his sons Joseph Jr, Robert, and John joined the family business. This became Joseph Terry & Sons.
Joseph Terry Sr retired a few years before he died. He handed the reins to his eldest son – Joseph Terry Jr.
Becoming what it is today
In 1854 the business expanded. They moved to their new site in Clementhorpe, York.
The business took advantage of its proximity to the River Ouse. Sugar, cocoa and coal was delivered by steam ship twice a week.
They kept the shop in St Helen’s Square. The name Terry’s still adorns the building.
In the second half of the century, people knew Joseph Terry Jr for his civic duty and philanthropy. Joseph severed a term as Sheriff of York in 1870.
On four separate occasions he was Lord Mayor before being knighted in 1887. In 1923, now under the leadership of Frank and Noel Terry, bought a large site on Bishopthorpe Road.
They built a new factory in an Art Deco style which has a distinctive clock tower. This opened in 1926.
Their first project at the new factory was the Terry’s Chocolate Apple. In 1931, they followed this with the Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Terry’s All Gold in the following year.
The business went from strength to strength. In 1936, Frank was knighted. He then became the High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1945.
The confectionery production stopped during World War Two. They gave the factory to allow the production of propeller blades.
In the post war years, rationing and limited imports of cocoa made production difficult. The led to phasing out the chocolate apple for the more popular chocolate orange.
The Terry’s Chocolate Orange has become associated with the company. This is because of its unique packaging and flavour.
The chocolate, shaped like a real orange, has twenty segments. To release them, the chocolate orange must be “tapped” on a hard surface.
There has been many spin offs of this popular chocolate. This includes a “chocolate orange bar”, containing six segments, and “minis”, which contain smaller pieces of the confectionary and Easter eggs.
The company has changed hands numerous times over the last fifty years. It has been owned by Trust House Forts, Colgate-Palmolive, United Biscuits, and Kraft Foods. Kraft moved the production of the Terry’s brand to various sites in Eastern Europe in 2005.
On the 30th September 2004, the last Terry’s Chocolate Orange was made in the city of York. This ended 238 years of history since the company’s humble beginnings in 1767.
The buildings have been renamed The Chocolate Works. They have been developed into a mix of retail and residential properties. The former factory site in Bishopthorpe Road will always be part of York’s chocolate story.