I'm pretty bored today so I started going through some old shots and realised I've never put a decent quality report of this place up anywhere, despite it being the location I 'cut my teeth' in. It was my first experience at climbing palisade fence, we rode scooters and pit bikes round the whole site, ran into more explorers than you can shake a stick at and after our first successful explore of the clocktower in late 2010, during which we posted a mate in through a silly gap to have him pop the door from the inside, with it subsequently refusing to fit back into the frame, well, tourist season really opened up for a while. I've got a LOT of really blurry and wonky shots from this place, mostly shot on a dying kodak compact. Here are a few of the more decent ones. No excuses, its a fullon derp, expecially these days, but the memories eh? Ah, oh.
In 1825 after the death of Robert Berry, Terry agreed a new partnership with Robert's son George, renaming the business Terry & Berry. In 1828, George left the business and it was renamed Terry's of York. Using his skills as a chemist, Joseph developed new lines of chocolate, confectionery, sugared sweets, candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges. He began using the developing railway network of the North Eastern Railway, to distribute his products over the North of England and as far away as London.
Joseph retired in 1850 shortly before his death, handing over the business to his sons Joseph Jnr, Robert and John. Joseph became the driving force, quickly expanded the business, moving production four years later to a leased site at Clementhorpe, beside the River Ouse. In 1923, Frank and Noel Terry joined the family business, Terry's of York. They revamped the company, launching new products and bought a site off of Bishopthorpe Road, York on which to develop a new factory. Built in an Art Deco style, the factory known as The Chocolate Works included a distinct clock tower.
The factory shed roofs as they were before the pikey onslaught, still with glass and lead frames intact.
Opened in 1926, new products including the Chocolate Apple (1926), Terry's Chocolate Orange (1931), and Terry's All Gold were all developed and produced onsite. With the onset of World War II, confectionary production was immediately halted. The factory was taken over by F Hill's and Son's of Manchester as a shadow factory, to manufacture and repair aircraft propeller blades. With the factory handed back to the company post-war, production was difficult due to rationing and limited imports of raw coca. As a result, in 1954 production of the chocolate apple was phased out in favour of increased production of the chocolate orange.
We'll start at the south of the site where the large sheds comprised chocolate orange's main production. These contained a few murals regarding the factory and its history but were otherwise massive black spaces.
In 1975, Terry's was acquired by United Biscuits, forming the bulk of their confectionary division. After UB ran into financial difficulties in the early 1990s, they sold their entire confectionary division to Kraft Foods, who amalgamated it with Jacobs Suchard to create Terry's Suchard. From 2000, the company brand was changed from Terry's of York to simply Terry's, reducing the company's links to the city. Production was also scaled back, with just UK products and Terry's Chocolate Orange, Terry's All Gold and Twilight made for the international market.
In 2004, Kraft Foods decided to switch production of remaining products All Gold and Chocolate Orange to factories in Belgium, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia, and close the plant. The factory closed on 30 September 2005. Bought by developers Grantside, they consulted local people on how to develop the site, renamed The Chocolate Works. Their initial proposed development was rejected by the City of York Council. In February 2010, with the Grade II listed Time Office and Art Deco clock tower 'secured' and scheduled for refurbishment and despite objections from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the firm was given planning permission for a Â£165million mixed-use of residential, commercial and leisure. The eventual scheme is projected to create more than 2,700 new jobs in new and refurbished offices, two hotels, shops, bars, cafÃ©s and restaurants, over 250 homes, a nursery, care home and medical centre. Redevelopment started in 2011, with removal of asbestos by trained and certified contractors, followed by demolition of non-scheduled buildings in early 2012.
Boiler House/Clock Tower
Many people don't realise that the clock tower isn't just a fancy showpiece. Sitting above the factory's main boiler house from which steam was distributed through service tunnels to the rest of the site, it acted as an elaborate chimney flue, with one of the corners of the tower actually containing the flue. I nearly found this out the hard way in 2010 when I tried to climb up to sit on it, only to discover it was hollow all the way down...
Finally, a few often-overlooked parts from the rest of the factory. Notably missing is the canteen/office block, if only because there was absolutely nothing of interest in there. Unless you're the sort to get wet over a cupboard full of keys, which was one of maybe two intact rooms in the whole factory. Meh.
Last of all, a few favourite moments. Namely, walking into the fully intact and well-preserved fire systems room at the back of the distribution warehouse to find a beautiful leyland static in ready-to-go condition, still with the oil topped up and a full reservoir of firewater ready to pump, and that time we abseiled the clocktower.
Cheers for reading, if you made it this far. Writing this has reminded me of how much fun we've had running around the place, it's just not the same now. Hopefully the redevelopment will make things interesting once again.