166-year old West Yorkshire business secures two major listings with Yorkshire-based national supermarket chain

Traditional local confectionary manufacturer in West Yorkshire, Joseph Dobson, has secured two additional listings with national supermarket chain Asda – just in time for Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Joseph Dobson Bonfire Toffee and Joseph Dobson Bonfire Lollies are expected to fly off the shelves at Asda supermarkets, with the seasonal treats listed at over 50 stores in Yorkshire and across the North of England.

Based in the Calderdale market town of Elland, the company was founded in 1850 and has a fascinating history, with humble Victorian origins and is now one of the largest privately owned confectionery manufacturers in Yorkshire.

Several of Dobson’s products are already available at Asda stores, however adding the Bonfire Toffee and Bonfire Lollies means Joseph Dobson’s much loved sweets will be enjoyed by more people than ever before – with over 100,000 bonfire lollies and more than 3.4 tonnes of its bonfire toffee packets set to be sold.
Joseph Dobson’s has a fascinating history and it began when Joseph arrived in Elland in 1850 with his young bride Eleanor from their native York.

Aged 21, Joseph had come to collect his inheritance, only to find that the acting solicitor had disappeared with it. Undaunted and without any capital, Joseph and Eleanor started their business catering primarily for Victorian family occasions producing wedding cakes and funeral biscuits.

Orphaned by plague at the age of ten, Joseph had been raised by his grandparents and had worked as a boy for the confectionary firm of Cravens in York.

His bride Eleanor too had connections with the confectionery trade and was the sister of William Charles Berry, confectioner and joint founders of Terrys at the turn of the 18th Century.

Joseph, who died in 1885 at the age of 56 left three sons, Robert Henry, William Charles, and Thomas John each taking their turn in managing their father's pioneering business. The business continued to be passed down from father to son ever since, providing continuity and passing down the expertise and experience of five generations to the current Great-Great Granddaughter of the founder, Miriam who now runs the business with her husband Stephen.


Many of the first sweets to be made had medicinal value and some, like the current day Voice Tablets, still remain. Another favourite owes its creation to an accident as one day whilst Thomas John was walking down the stairs, he slipped and fell and when he saw the jumbled mass of sweets, he was inspired to create the now famous Yorkshire Mixtures.

The company still runs a traditional ‘sweet shop' in Southgate, close to the factory in Elland.

Lorna Owen, local buyer for Yorkshire-based Asda, said: “Joseph Dobson's delicious sweets have been a well-loved treat enjoyed in West Yorkshire for over a century and we are delighted that our customers will be able to enjoy their Bonfire toffee and lollies this Halloween and Bonfire Night.

“They still use traditional recipes and the highest quality local ingredients, which means these traditional treacle tasting treats taste delicious. Asda is committed to supporting local suppliers and we are proud to champion local across the regions so our customers can enjoy local favourites stocked on the shelves of their local Asda store.”

Miriam Walshaw at Joseph Dobson’s, said: "One of the main reason for the longevity of the company has been the unique taste of our products. Time after time we receive testimonials from our customers about the superior taste of our sweets to those of our competitors

Many of our recipes and manufacturing techniques have been handed down through the generations and we always us the finest quality ingredients including real Treacle and Butter in our Bonfire products. We are very pleased to see our traditional Bonfire sweets now on the shelves at Asda – it means the popularity of the confectionary made by Joseph Dobson & Sons is spreading.”

At Asda, Dobson’s Traditional Bonfire Toffee is priced at £1.00 for a 200g bag and Dobson’s Bonfire Lollies are priced at £1.50 for a 200g jar.

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