Norwich's last Rolo...

12 September 2019

Norwich’s last Rolo…

Originally published 2018

Did you know that the humble Rolo celebrated its 80th birthday last year? And it was born right here in Norwich…

1857 –  It all starts with Albert Jarman Caley (1829 – 95). Albert is a Chemist at 31 London Street (now Bravissimo!), working in partnership with the wonderfully named Octavius Corder.

1863 –  The pair start making mineral water.

1864 – They then open additional premises on Bedford Street, as drinks side of the business expands.

1874 – The partnership is dissolved, and Corder continues with Chemist business.

1878 – Albert’s son Edward joins the business.

1880 – Albert buys former glove factory at Chapelfield, and sinks two deep wells for water for drinks business.

1883Caley’s starts making cocoa to provide winter employment.

1886Caley’s starts making chocolate…

1890 – Additional factory is built for chocolate production, working alongside drinks factory. Designed by architect Edward Boardman

1894 – Albert Jarman Caley retires, and is succeeded by his son Edward and nephews Fredrick and Stuart.

1897 – The factory starts making Christmas crackers! Joint stock company A.J. Caley and Sons is formed.

Turn of 20th centuryCaley’s start making milk chocolate (Swiss style). Before this, Cadbury’s had been the first in the country to produce chocolate in this way,  in 1897.

World War 1Caley’s begin to supply Marching Chocolate to the troops. This was known as ‘Marcho’.

1918 – Edward Caley sells the company to The Eastern & African Trading Corporation.

1932Mackintosh of Halifax (toffee makers) buy Caley’s.

1937Rolos first appear. Mackintosh Caley’s were soon exporting them to 100 countries from Canada to Cape Verde Islands, Fiji to Finland and Nepal to Nicaragua. During this time, up to 2 tons of Rolos were produced an hour.

1942 – Norwich factory destroyed in a bombing raid.

1946 – The rebuilding of the factory commenced and completed in 1952.

1950’s – New lines in the 1950’s included Munchies and Weekend (chocolates) in 1957, Caramac 1959 and Good News chocolates 1960.

1969 – Rowntrees (York) and Mackintosh merge to form Rowntree Mackintosh.

1970s/1980s – Norwich factory makes up to 40 million Easter Eggs a year.

1988 – Rowntree Mackintosh acquired by Nestle. The Yorkie bar is made in Norwich.

1996 – Norwich factory closes, but Nestle retain the former Rowntree factory in York.

1997 – Former Nestle employees buy the Caley brand from Nestle and start making Caley’s chocolate again.

1999 – Caley’s is acquired by Unicheq Group in Hampshire – chocolate production moves from Norwich.

2005 – Chapelfield shopping mall opens on top of the old Caley’s site.

2018 – Rolos still made by Nestle and are on sale all over the world (including Norwich!)

This post was written with thanks to Paul Dickson. If you’d like to learn more about Norwich’s chocolate making history (and a lot more besides…) then check out the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell!