Take a trip down a chocolate memory lane to this Norwich factory

Caley's chocolate still being made in October 1997

Caley's chocolate still being made in October 1997 - Credit: Archant

Norwich may be famous for its mustard, but not long ago it was also well known for its production of popular chocolate. With Easter right around the corner, here's a look back at Norwich's old chocolate factory – no golden ticket needed.

•In 1857, Albert Jarman Caley opened a chemist's in London Street where by 1863 he had begun manufacturing mineral water in the cellar of his business.

A few years later, following the success of his work with soft drinks, Caley, with the help of his son Edward, opened a mineral water factory in Chapel Field East known as Fleur-de Lys works, to help cope with demand for the product.

At this time, soft drinks were only sold seasonally, so in an effort to save the jobs of his employees during the winter months, the factory began manufacturing drinking cocoa in 1883 which in 1886 turned to chocolate.

•By 1904 the factory was employing 700 people and their chocolates were shipped all over the world, with 'Caley's Marching Chocolate' even being sent to British troops during WWI.


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Swiss milk chocolate was thought to be the best quality chocolate available at this time and it was being imported in vast quantities into the UK. In order to rival this, Caley's began producing their own version of milk chocolate, using milk kindly supplied by Mr. Garrett Taylor from his herd of Whitlingham Red Poll cattle.

•After a reshuffling of hands in 1932, the factory was sold to John Mackintosh & Sons Limited for £138,000 and it was here, under the Mackintosh name, that the first packet of 'Rolo' was manufactured in Norwich five years later. The caramel filled confectionery became so popular that the factory ended up producing two tons of it per hour.

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•World War II saw the unfortunate destruction of the factory during an incendiary raid on Norwich. Years of reconstruction took place and the building eventually was completed in 1952 and with the reopening came a host of new products including, Week-End and Munchies which were introduced in 1957, Caramac in 1959 and Good News Assortment began production in Norwich from 1960 onwards.

•Mackintosh merged with Rowntree in 1969 and chocolate production continued in the city as it had for over 100 years, with the company employing roughly 1,000 people and at Easter time the factory would manufacture over 40,000,000 chocolate eggs.

•Rowntree Mackintosh was taken over by Nestle in 1988 and within eight years the Norwich factory had been closed and hundreds of jobs lost as production moved to centralise in York. Employees protested the closure, sharing slogans such as 'Save our factory; don't make it the 'last Rolo' at Norwich!' However nothing could be done to save the factory which was ultimately demolished in 2004 and today Intu Chapelfield shopping centre stands in its place.

•The closure of the factory that had once been home to Caley's didn't signal the end of the beloved brand, as three former executives acquired the company and purchased production equipment from Nestle in 1996 and formed Caley's of Norwich Ltd.

Over the next few years, they reintroduced many of the public's favourite chocolate bars, including Caley's Plain Marching Chocolate and Caley's Milk Marching Chocolate.

The famous hot chocolate drinks that started it all were reintroduced again in 1999 and in 2002 a Caley's Cocoa Cafe opened in Norwich Guildhall. The brand began to work with charitable organisations such as Fair Trade and Help for Heroes to launch special lines of chocolate in the late 2000s and today the sweet treats are still widely enjoyed.

•Do you have photos of the former chocolate factory? Send them to courtney.pochin@archant.co.uk

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