My grandmother also ran a sweet shop in St David's Hill, Exeter, which I can
just remember. As a baby I lived 'over the shop' as my parents had a flat on
the top floor of my grandparents' house.
This was in the early 1950s when sweets were still rationed. Before my
grandfather retired as a baker (the bakehouse was also on the premises), my
grandmother also sold bread and cakes in the shop, and carried on with the
sweet side after he sold the goodwill of his bakery business.
I don't think this was unusual for sweet shops to be a sideline of a bakery
business, as many bakers were also confectioners, ie they made edibles from
sugar. What we now call sweets, or candy, were often called bon-bons in the
early shops, though this term came to mean a particular type of sweet.
Similarly candy, which became an American synonym for sweets, was a
particular type, a hard, boiled sweet as opposed to 'soft' confectionery
like fudge, chocolate, or jellies (not sure what the Americans call them,
know 'jelly' is US for what we call jam). These jellies aren't the wobbly
party things, but soft fruit sweets covered in sugar, like pastilles.
Sweet shops then sold sweets by the quarter pound, although you could buy 2
ounces or even an ounce. There were hardly any pre-packed sweets, except
bars of chocolate. Incidentally, little known Devon fact, the Cadbury
chocolate family lived in Devon, and the first Cadbury shop (tea and coffee
merchant) was in Exeter.
As well as sweets from the jars lining the shelves, my grandmother sold
potato crisps which were stored in clear-topped tins ranged across the front
of the counter, but angled forward, so you could see the contents. One of
these tins held another staple of the sweet shop 'broken biscuits', a
mixture of all sorts of sweet biscuits (US crackers). Woolworths became
famous for them.
Sweet shops had a big problem with sunlight spoiling their goods, so they
invariably had a striped pull-down awning to give as much shade as possible.
My father said he was quite old before he realised that chocolate was
supposed to be brown - he and his brothers ate the chocolate from their
mother's shop which had faded in sunlight and couldn't be sold!
Angela in Dawlish
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pamela" <pamelah(a)northrock.bm>
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010 5:06 PM
Subject: [DEV] WHAT EXACTLY WAS A SWEET SHOP
My GGran Emily Blanche WILLCOCKS operated a Sweet Shop on Ridgeway in
Plympton for many years, certainly from the early 1930's as my father
remembers the place.
Her son Cecil ran it until his retirement about 1960.
The house was "Dart House", so I don't think the shop had an actual name
I've always wondered what a "sweet shop" sold exactly. Other than
which my late father recalls helping to make. My late auntie also
drinking "cordials" - what exactly are these?
Be great if someone could name a few things which would have been sold at
Sweet Shop in those days.
pamela in Bermuda
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