Stocking fillers and some sweet aromas recall

What a grand factory it was, –the Caley Chapel Field Works in Norwich. Picture: Romance of a Busines

What a grand factory it was, –the Caley Chapel Field Works in Norwich. Picture: Romance of a Business House - Credit: From the book Romance of a Business House

There was a time when factories or work-places were called business houses and these pictures from a book written by Herbert Leeds and handed out to customers, workers and friends, by the chocolate makers Caleys many years ago.

One of the cracker-making rooms between the wars. Romance of a Business House

One of the cracker-making rooms between the wars. Romance of a Business House - Credit: From the book Romance of a Business House

It was called the Romance of a Business House and it told the story of the city centre factory which closed 20 years ago – people still miss the sweet smell of chocolate which wafted over the city when the wind was blowing in the right direction.

The chances are that each Christmas thousands of people in Norwich and Norfolk would be munching into Caleys chocolate, pulling one of their crackers or delving into a hand-made Santa stocking.

Filling Santa Claus stockings. Romance of a Business House

Filling Santa Claus stockings. Romance of a Business House - Credit: From the book Romance of a Business House

Caleys was also one of the those forward-thinking companies which looked after the welfare of their workers all those years ago.

One of the photographs shows the sports pavilion at the Elms – described as a large estate situated in a pleasant Norwich suburb where there were 'artistically' designed dwellings for employees.

The Elms, part of the Caley welfare scheme for the workers. Picture: Romance of a Business House, wr

The Elms, part of the Caley welfare scheme for the workers. Picture: Romance of a Business House, written by Herbert Leeds - Credit: From the book Romance of a Business House


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Herbert's report went on:

'A flourishing recreation association exists in connection with the works and its activities include cricket, tennis, bowls, swimming and badminton and during the winter a handsome and spacious pavilion is nightly used for dancing, whist drives, concerts and other social purposes.

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'Each Christmas a monster party is organised by the association for the children of employees and in the summer an outing takes place for the employees and a horticultural show and sports meeting are also held,' wrote Herbert.

And he said of the factory in Norwich: 'The buildings stand upon one of the highest part of the city where pure breezes from a wide sweep of countryside circulate freely.'

In those days Caleys had branch factories at London, Ipswich and Banham in Norfolk. Also permanent showrooms at Africa House, Kingsway, London and at Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast.

Now that's what you call a 'Business House' – or should it be houses!

Norfolk 1890 edited by Philip Trolley and published by the Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society is on sale at £18.99 from Jarrold, City Books and from Norfolk Museums Service.

If you enjoy our heritage stories make sure you join our Facebook group: Norwich Remembers for memory sharing and nostalgia of our fine city

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