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Shop Front of the Origina Building
Joseph Dobson

Joseph Dobson arrived in Elland in 1850 having traveled with his young bride Eleanor from their native York.

Aged 21, Joseph had come to collect his inheritance, only to find that the acting solicitor had disappeared with it. Undaunted and without any capital, Joseph and Eleanor started their business catering primarily for Victorian family occasions producing wedding cakes and funeral biscuits.

Orphaned by plague at the age of ten, Joseph had been raised by his grandparents and had worked as a boy for the confectionry firm of Cravens in York. His bride Eleanor too had connections with the confectionery trade and was the sister of William Charles Berry, confectioner and Freeman of the city of York. The Berry Family were joint founders of Terrys at the turn of the 18th Century.

Original wrapper of Joseph Dobson

Many of the first sweets to be made had medicinal value and some, like the current day Voice Tablets, still remain. Joseph Dobson's have always been innovative with new essence flavours and sweet design. The turn of the century saw the introduction of the Conversation Lozenge, adorned with true Victorian values; Take Ye Not To Strong Drink and Honour Your Parents, for example.

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above left: original Dobson's wrapper dated 1852,

far left: Early tin of Yorkshire Mixtures

left: Early tin of Humbugs

Dobson's sweets have been a loved and well stocked item in almost all local shops for well over one century. The advent of the humble polythene bag however has allowed the company to increase distribution of the products much more widely and to new outlets such as supermarkets. Whilst pre-packed and weighed sweets are now more the norm, our more nostalic customers still like to have their own quarter pound hand-weighed in front of them. The company still runs a traditional ‘sweet shop' in Southgate, close to the factory - 70 Southgate, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 OPS.
Tel 01422 377365.

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The company has been owned and managed by direct descendants of Joseph right up to the present day. Joseph, who died in 1885 at the age of 56 left three sons, Robert Henry, William Charles, and Thomas John each taking their turn in managing their father's pioneering business. The business continued to be passed down from father to son ever since, providing continuity and passing down the expertise and experience of four generations to the current Great Grandson of the founder, Thomas Anthony.