Our Story

Time Line

1829

Saturday 10th April 1829 Joseph Dobson was born and the story begins

1829 Dobsons

1839

At the age of 10 Joseph’s parents died of the plague, he moved to York to be raised by his grandparents. He later worked for the confectioners Cravens of York

1839 Dobsons

1849

Joseph married Eleanor Berry, sister of William Charles Berry who was part of the family who founded the famous confectioners Terry’s of York

1849 Terry’s of York

1850

Joseph and his wife moved to Elland to claim his inheritance however the solicitor had disappeared with most of it only leaving him the buildings in Northgate, here is where he set up a confectionery business producing Bridal Cakes and Funeral Biscuits which were popular in the Victorian times

1850 Dobsons

1885

After Joseph’s death in 1885 the business was managed by his 3 sons: Robert Henry, William Charles and Thomas John, each son taking their turn to manage the business.

1885 Dobsons

1890

A stone plaque was erected within the walls of Dobson’s yard on the Rose & Crown building to commemorate Thomas John’s 21st birthday, this building has recently been known as De Lacey’s and is now owned by Dobson’s

1890 Dobsons

1890’s

Conversation Lozengers were introduced by Dobson’s. Each sweet was embossed with a short motto for example “Take ye not to Strong drink” and “Honour thy Parents”

Dobsons - 1890’s History

1890-1900

Many of the first sweets introduced contained ingredients which had medicinal values including the Dobson’s Voice Tablet which is still one of the most popular products manufactured today.

Dobsons - 1890-1900 History

1890-1900

Traditional manufacturing methods were used and included heating the ingredients in a copper pan on a “Coke” stove, pulling part of the batch using a metal hook on the wall and feeding the formed sweet through different shaped rollers onto a stone slab

Dobsons - 1890-1900 History

1900

Deliveries in the 1900's were made using a horse and cart and grooves were made in the stone setts to help the horses grip which can still be clearly seen today at the entrance to the factory

Dobsons - 1900’s History

1913

On the 17th December 1913 Joseph Dobson & Sons became incorporated by the directors: William Charles Dobson, Thomas John Dobson and the widow of Robert Henry, Harriet Dobson.

1913

1920

The famous Yorkshire Mixtures were produced entirely by accident when one day whilst Thomas John was carrying a tray of sweets downstairs, he slipped and fell and when he looked down at the jumbled mass of sweets he was inspired to create the now famous Yorkshire Mixture we all love today

Dobsons - 1920 History

1929

Joseph’s grand-daughter, Mildred Dobson married Arnold Chadwick and they had two sons, Francis Arnold and Thomas Anthony (who would become Managing Director in 1977) 

1930

Dobson’s first sweet shop was opened in Northgate, at the front of the factory

1930 Dobsons

1942

Due to the second world war, sugar rationing was introduced which meant Dobson’s could only manufacture a fixed amount of sweets per month

1942 Sugar Allocations Rationing orders

1949

Sugar de-rationing was first attempted, however there was such a huge surge in the demand for sweets, rationing had to be reintroduced and sweets continued to be rationed until 1953.  The photo below shows Thomas Anthony tasting the first sweets made after the end of rationing in 1953.

1952

Dobson’s sweet shop moved from Northgate to Southgate in the centre of Elland. It remains a very popular traditional sweet shop selling a wide range of English and continental confectionery products alongside all Dobson’s products manufactured in the Elland factory.

1952

1956

Thomas Anthony (son of Mildred Chadwick nee Dobson) worked for a short period in the factory until 1960, he then gained further experience in the confectionery industry working at various confectionery companies including Fullers and Terrys of York, he then returned to Dobson’s as a company director in 1977

1956 Dobsons

1979

Sweets were becoming popular in supermarkets and Dobson’s introduced their best-selling varieties into 1/2lb packets for Morrison’s supermarkets

1979 Dobsons

1982

Mint imperials and the technique of panning confectionery were introduced and are now one of the best-selling products manufactured and are supplied across the UK

1982 Dobsons

1985

Large glass jars were replaced with plastic jars for the packing of the products supplied to the traditional sweet shops.

1985 Dobsons

1986

Barbara (Thomas Anthony’s wife) joins the company as a director.

1990

Yorkshire Television used the factory yard to recreate a Victorian slum as part of their drama series “How we used to live” also in this year Dobson’s were filmed by the BBC as part of “A history of the confectionery business”

1990 Dobsons

1999

Dobson’s bought a lollipop company called Ryburn and moved production of the varieties of lollipops and Old Tom cough sweets to their factory in Elland

1999

Miriam – daughter of Thomas Anthony and Barbara Ann, and her husband Stephen Walshaw start working in the factory after moving from Canada with their daughters Josephine and Charlotte

2003

Miriam, great-great granddaughter of Joseph and her husband Stephen become directors

2003 Dobsons

2005

The Mega Lolly range extended due to popular demand with over 50 different flavours available

2005 Dobsons

2006

Dobson’s achieve accreditation with BRC (grade A)

2006 Dobsons

2007

Miriam and Stephen took over managing the company. The company has now been owned and managed by direct descendants of Joseph right up to the present day

2010

The business continues to grow and a large extension to the factory is built, Also several new manufacturing lines and packaging machines are introduced

2013

Dobson’s purchased a second factory in Elland also used for manufacturing, packaging and storage to help meet the demands and growth of the market

2013 Dobsons

2017

Dobson’s decide to be part of the Social Media age, opening Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages to help advertise new products and keep customers up to date with any news

2017

A range of sugar free Sweets and Mega Lollies are introduced as the demand for sugar free confectionery rises.

2017

A big year for Dobson’s with the launch of the NEW packaging, keeping the good name and tradition whilst attracting a wider audience. Mint Imperials, Yorkshire Mixtures, Pear Drops, Voice Tablets, Rhubarb & Custard and Sherbet pips are the first to change, others will follow

2017 Dobsons

2018

Dobson’s ecommerce website is launched, customers now have the ability to order via the web. Being the first time ever you can buy all Dobson’s products in one place, including gifts, seasonal, offers and sweet club.

2018 Dobsons

2018

We were delighted to be asked by the Duke of York to provide wedding favours for the wedding of his daughter Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank. We filled bespoke tins made by Macbey Packaging, with our famous Mint Imperials providing a special gift for the guests.

2018 Wedding Tin

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