Ref no38538
TitleRecords of J S Fry and Sons, chocolate manufacturers, of Bristol and Somerdale, Keynsham
Date1655-2004
DescriptionThis collection includes: Personal material relating to the Fry family; Corporate records including property deeds (pre-dating the founding of the company), correspondence, minutes, legal records, share records; Financial records including cash books and ledgers; Management records including factory fabric, marketing material, reports and staffing records; Illustrative material including scrapbooks, press cuttings, photographs of factories, locations and staff, historical books and pamphlets relating to the family, and company and staff newsletters and magazines.

The original deposit of records in 1983 covered the period up to 1918. A subsequent deposit in 2011 contained both the post-1918 records previously held by Cadbury-Schweppes at Bournville as well as records transferred from the Somerdale factory itself when it closed. Previous references used in each of these collections can be found in the 'AltRefNo' field if required. During this second deposit, Bristol Record Office accepted the paper material while M Shed and Blaise Castle Museum accepted artefacts including wooden boxes, production moulds and production machinery.

Bristol Record Office has previously agreed to inform Cadbury of any proposed major study based exclusively or substantially on Fry archive material and intended as a source for a published text. An intending author should approach Cadbury's (now Mondelez International) direct to seek consent for publication. Cadbury's will not unreasonably withhold consent, but reserves the right to examine proposed texts and, if considered necessary, to require amendments or to apply a total veto.
LevelCollection
Extent27 shelves (c. 213 boxes)
Administrative historyA patent for the manufacture of chocolate was first granted to Walter Churchman in 1729. In 1756 Joseph Fry, an apothecary in Small Street, began to sell chocolate and in 1761 on the death of Churchman's brother Charles (in previous histories of the firm often wrongly identified as his son), Fry took over their business and the patent. Joseph Fry, born in 1728, had settled in Bristol in about 1748 and was admitted a freeman in 1753. His first business was in Small Street, but in 1763 soon after buying the Churchman business, he had moved to Wine Street. In 1777 however, when Union Street was developed, he moved his business there, where it remained until the twentieth century. In the eighteenth century eating chocolate was virtually unknown, and production in Union Street was of tablets of drinking chocolate.

Joseph was a Quaker, and a man of many other business interests. On his death, his widow, Anna, carried on the chocolate business with their son, Joseph Storrs Fry (1767-1835). After the death of his mother in 1803, Joseph Storrs Fry took a partner, a Mr. Hunt, but in 1822 his three sons came into partnership with their father and the firm became known as J.S. Fry and Sons, the name it has borne ever since.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, business expanded rapidly. Between 1860 and 1907, Fry's opened seven new factories in Bristol (to make a total of eight). When Fry's became a registered private company in 1896, there were nearly 4,500 employees. Competition became keener in the twentieth century and in 1918, Fry's merged their financial interests with Cadbury Brothers Ltd. and the British Cocoa and Chocolate Company was formed.

In the 1920s Fry's moved their production from Bristol, where room to expand in the city centre was limited, to a new site at Keynsham named Somerdale (the name was chosen in a public competition). In 1955 Fry's became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cadbury's.

In 1969 Cadburys merged with Schweppes to form Cadbury-Schweppes, before de-merging in 2008. In 2007 Cadbury began plans to close the Somerdale factory and transfer production to Poland. In February 2010 Cadbury was purchased by Kraft Foods, who decided to continue with the closure of the factory. Production at Somerdale drew to a close in January 2011 and the final shift of workers left on 31 March 2011. In October 2012, Kraft Foods Inc changed its name to Mondelez International.
ArrangementWith the addition of the Bournville and Somerdale material to the original Fry records, all items were recatalogued in 2011-2012 in order to include both the old and the new records within a new arrangement scheme. The previous scheme for the original deposit is given here for information only. A cross reference from old numbers to new numbers is available in the archive searchroom.

Original arrangement of pre-1918 material:
1. Records relating to the status of the firm; 2. Records relating to directors and shareholders; 3. Records relating to property; 4. Letter books and correspondence; 5. Financial records; 6. Records relating to stock and manufacture; 7. Records relating to factory departments; 8. Personnel records; 9. Fry clubs and societies; 10. Printed material; 11. Scrapbook and presscuttings; 12. Fry family records; 13. Photographic material
Subjecttrades & products
Archivist's noteSee also 42700 and 42510 for 16mm films relating to Somerdale and Cadbury's. Bristol Record Office would like to thank volunteer Nigel Somerville for his assistance with cataloguing and repackaging this collection

Show related Persons records.

Persons
CodePersonNameDates
NA1656Confectioners; J S Fry and Sons Ltd
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