Leeds nostalgia: Film shows old sweet shop in Halifax

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This film, available to view on the Yorkshire Film Archive website, was made by Ernest Hardy of Halifax Cine and Video Club and documents the process of making hand-made boiled sweets at the factory of Joseph Dobson & Sons in Elland.

The film begins with a view over Elland, with the two cooling towers in the distance. The factories of Gannets, famous for raincoats and Nu-Swift, makers of fire extinguishers, are shown, as are Elland New Hall and St Mary’s Church. Across the road from the church the Dobson family first started making sweets in 1850.

Inside the factory a treacle substance is being poured into a bucket and then boiled in a copper pot. This is then poured onto a table to cool, after which colour, flavouring and fruit acid are added; in this case making pear drops. The mixture is then rolled into a ball and elongated to be pulled by hand around a hook, giving it air and lightening the colour. This is again stretched out with a white filling to be put through a machine cutting it into the shape of sweets. The sweets are then broken up and sieved by hand. They are coated with a weak solution of syrup to make them sticky, and sugar is added to give them a crispy coating.

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