The History of Terry’s Chocolate Orange & Where it is Now

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.

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The Beginning of Terry’s of York

In 1767, Robert Berry opened a shop at Bootham Bar in York. He sold cough lozenges, imported candied peel, and sweets.

Both Robert and a man named William Bayldon decided to join forces. They formed Bayldon and Berry Confectionery.

Early in the 19th Century, Joseph Terry decided to move from Pocklington to York. It was here that he did an apprenticeship at an apothecary in Stonegate.

After completing his apprenticeship, Joseph set up his own chemist shop in Walmgate. In 1823, he married Harriet Atckinson who was the niece of Robert Berry.

Two years later, Robert Berry died. Robert’s son George, Harriet’s cousin, pushed Terry to join the family firm which led them to rename the business Terry and Berry.

In 1828, George decided to leave the family business making Terry the sole owner. Terry then renamed it ‘Terry’s of York’.

Thanks to Terry’s training as a chemist, he was able to develop new products. These included chocolate, confectionery, sugared sweets, candied peel, marmalade, and medicated lozenges.

The businesses factory was in Brearley Yard while the shop was in St Helen’s Square. This was close to the Mansion House which was a very desirable location.

Railways were starting to be developed in York. This would bring many benefits not only to York’s residents but also businesses.

Terry took advantage of the developing railways. He used them to distribute his products across the country.

In 1850, Terry’s sons Joseph Jr, Robert, and John joined the family business. This was then renamed as ‘Joseph Terry & Sons’.

Joseph Terry Sr retired just a few years before his death. He then handed the reins of the business to his eldest son Joseph Terry Jr.

How Terry’s of York became what it is today

In 1854 the business expanded due to demands. As a result, they moved their new site to Clementhorpe in York.

It was here that the business could take advantage of the River Ouse due to its proximity. Sugar, cocoa, and coal were delivered by steam ship twice a week.

Despite moving their site, they decided to keep the shop in St Helen’s Square. Even now the name Terry’s still adorns the building.

In the second half of the century, Joseph Terry Jr became known for his civic duty and philanthropy. This led Joseph to serve a term as Sheriff of York in 1870.

On four separate occasions, Joseph became Lord Mayor of York. After this, he was then knighted in 1887.

In 1923, the business was under new leadership. Frank and Noel Terry decided to purchase a large site on Bishopthorpe Road.

As new owners, they decided to build a new factory in an Art Deco style which features 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 Terry’s Chocolate Orange and the following year Terry’s All Gold.

Since then, the business went from strength to strength. In 1936 Frank was knighted and became High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1945.

This all came to a halt in World War II when confectionery production stopped. They allowed for their factory to be used as a producer of propeller blades.

In the post war years, the business struggled. Rationing and limited imports of cocoa made production difficult.

It was during this time that the company decided to make a big decision. They began to phase out the chocolate apple for the more popular chocolate orange.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange has become famously associated with the company. This is because of its unique packaging and flavour.

The chocolate is shaped like a real orange and has twenty segments. To release them, the chocolate orange must be tapped on a hard surface.

Where is Terry’s of York now?

Several spin offs of this popular chocolate have been created. This includes a chocolate orange bar which contains six segments.

There are also “minis”, which contain smaller orange segment shaped pieces, and Easter eggs. The business has even branched out to make a white chocolate orange.

Over the last fifty years, the company has changed hands numerous times. It’s been owned by Trust House Forts, Colgate-Palmolive, United Biscuits, Kraft Foods, and Carambar & Co.

In 1993, Kraft Foods bought Terry’s of York. They then moved the production of the Terry’s brand to various sites in Eastern Europe in 2005.

On the 30th of September in 2005, the factory closed and 316 people lost their jobs. This ended 238 years of history since the company’s humble beginnings in 1767.

During 2012, Kraft split into two companies, these were Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International. Terry’s of York became part of Mondelez.

In 2016, Terry’s of York was then bought again. Eurazeo purchased the business and soon became Carambar & Co.

Since then, the buildings have been renamed The Chocolate Works. They have been developed into a mix of both retail and residential properties.

The former factory site on Bishopthorpe Road is still a prominent landmark within the city. Terry’s of York will always remain a part of York’s chocolate story.