This film is part of Free

Sweet Life

A reminder of the days of loafing out of school and into the sweet shop to buy a quarter of Pear Shapes, as a local Elland family firm makes traditional hand-made boiled sweets.

Non-Fiction 1981 10 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


After showing us some of Elland’s places of special interest, including the home of one of The Bachelors, we are taken on a tour of local sweet manufacturers Joseph Dobson & Sons. From boiling up the syrup, to stretching the resultant goo and cutting out the individual shapes, each stage of the process of making boiled sweets is demonstrated and explained. The end product is rows of jars of Rainbow Crystals, Yorkshire Mixtures and Voice Tablets selling at 16 pence a Qtr.

A typical film of Ernest Hardy of Halifax Cine and Video Club, who loved to make local documentaries like this. Here we have the home of the famous Yorkshire Mixture, Joseph Dobson's. Started by Joseph Dobson back in 1850, it is a typical family firm of the period that has managed to stay just that. Joseph Dobson was orphaned at 10, but growing up in York, something of a confectionary hot spot at that time, he was able to take advantage of the growing sweet tooth market. With the development of food science, and technology to match, many of our well known sweets were created: toffees, fudge, candy floss, liquorice allsorts, jelly babies, wine gums and marshmallows, as well as boiled sweets.