John Mackintosh

John Mackintosh was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire on the 7th of July, 1868. Within months of John being born his Mum and Dad moved to Halifax. A town growing into a great town for finding work in. John Mackintosh later became engaged to Miss Violet Taylor. They married in 1890 and bought a pastry cook's shop in King Cross Lane, Halifax. Where John became a 'manufacturing confectioner'. There were only a few days between their wedding and the opening of the shop so these days were spent buying things that they needed with what money they had left. After the first months in the pastry cook business John Mackintosh began to look for something different to sell. At this time he had already worked out that half of the week's money was taken on Saturdays. That meant that Friday was the hardest working day of the week in the bakehouse preparing meat pies, fruit pies, Madeira cakes, Eccles cakes, sponge loaves and many more attractive looking cakes, pies and buns for the window display. What was missing was one special item, something totally different to everything else on show. Turkish Delight was considered, then chocolate and Yorkshire Mint Rock but none of these excited John Mackintosh. Then he began to think about toffee. At this time English toffee was hard and brittle, whereas America had started to send over caramels that were very soft. Violet worked on a recipe that would combine the two and soon.

'Mackintosh's Celebrated Toffee' was created in Halifax and would soon be celebrated throughout the world. An advertisement was placed in the local newspaper inviting anybody to come to the pastry shop to try a free sample of this new toffee. Hundreds of people came and before the shop closed it had all gone. The following Monday morning another advertisement was placed in the newspaper asking people to come along again and this time buy the toffee. The next Saturday morning the largest display of toffee ever seen in Halifax was displayed.

The pastry shop now looked like a toffee shop and all the pies cakes, cheese tarts and the Eccles cakes could not compare to this mouth watering mountain of golden toffee. Although the window was painted with lettering that told everybody that it was a pastry shop, people being people were quick to rename it. So the name changed in people's minds and people from all over Halifax started to find their way to "The Toffee Shop."

A sack of sugar, a tub of butter and a few pastries were the things which John Mackintosh began the business with and which grew to worldwide success. The success of Mackintosh's Toffees was very quick in coming. That first supply of toffee was boiled by Violet Mackintosh in a brass pan over a kitchen fire. It took an hour to boil and cool 4.5 Kilograms in weight of toffee. Elsewhere, people were creating bright coloured, exciting flavoured sweets and chocolates and selling them based on their looks as well as how they tasted. John Mackintosh had no idea about glucose or vanilla flavourings. This home made recipe was made from sugar and butter and only had its taste to make people want to buy it. It was this 'homely' recipe, with no frills attached that appealed to people.

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