Barratt & Co was once the largest sugar confectionery manufacturer in the world. Today it is best known for children’s confectionery products such as Sherbet Fountains and Dip Dabs. George Osborne Barratt (1827 – 1906), pastry cook, entered into partnership with his brother, James John Barratt (born 1825) at 9 Albert Place, City Road, Shoreditch in 1848. The partnership was dissolved in 1852, and Barratt relocated to Shepherdess Walk, Hoxton, where he established himself as a confectioner. The breakthrough for the business occurred when Barratt accidentally invented a new type of toffee. Branded as “Stickjaw”, he targeted the working class market with low prices. No’s 9 and 10 were occupied at Shepherdess Walk by 1864, to give Barratt factories on both sides of the street. In 1883 one of the Shepherdess Walk factories was destroyed by fire. Around 500 people were employed by this time. By 1884 Barratt was one of the largest manufacturers of jam and confectionery in London. In 1885 another fire occurred at Barratt’s factories at 30 and 32 Shepherdess Walk. In 1890 the factory employed 600 people. That year around 200 staff, mostly young men and women, went on strike. By 1899 Barratt had 2,000 employees. That year, the factory was struck by fire, causing £100,000 worth of damage. In 1902 Barratt entered retirement, and divided his business between his four children. By 1906 Barratt was the largest confectionery manufacturer in the world. The company employed nearly 2,000 people and produced over 300 tons of sweets every week, on a site of nearly five acres. G O Barratt died in 1906. He left an estate of £153,830. In 1907 E W Barratt gifted every employee of the company a 14-carat gold watch, in memory of his father. In 1909 the company was incorporated with a capital of £330,000. All of the directors were members of the Barratt family. In 1913 George William Barratt gifted all 2,000 employees with an alarm clock. In 1928 G W Barratt died and left £369,282. In 1966 Barratt was acquired by George Bassett of Sheffield for almost £4 million. In 1975 the Wood Green factory was closed with the loss of 750 jobs. The closure was due to labour sourcing issues and an outdated factory. In 1989 Bassett was acquired by Cadbury, In 2008 Cadbury sold Barratt, Butterkist popcorn and other smaller confectionery lines, to Tangerine Confectionery for £58 million. In 2013 the Barratt name was rebranded as “Candyland”. Tangerine did not rule out reviving the Barratt brand at a later date. (letslookatitagain).
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