Toffee Crisp chocolate bars were first produced in Halifax in 1963.
John Henderson joined Mackintosh’s in 1957 as a management trainee and also worked on the development of Mint Cracknell, Tooty Frooties and he established new Caramac manufacturing plants in New Zealand and Australia in the 1960’s. His grandfather, who was married to John Mackintosh’s sister, worked as an accountant at Mackintosh’s and later as finance director based at Dublin. John was raised in Southern Ireland and graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Trinity College, Dublin. His first employment was with the Irish Electricity Board, then Wimpey and McAlpine, building bridges, railway marshalling yards and dams in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was while working in the development department at Mackintosh’s Halifax, that the idea for a treat of chocolate, puffed rice and toffee was born. His wife used to make Rice Crispie and chocolate cakes for their two children, Charles and Jill and their friends. He took some of these to the factory, and work began on developing a new product in the early 1960s. When the chocolate coated crispy bar was submitted to the Board they felt it needed something more, so after a lot of work from the experimental department, it was decided to add toffee to get the texture correct and adapt machinery for production.
His daughter recalled that,
“It was very tricky to get the toffee hard enough but not run off the edges…he was involved in all that. Mackintosh’s was at the forefront of developing a lot of confectionary in those days”.
Toffee Crisp was born and displaced Texan and Cabana confectionery bars and the adverts carried the famous strapline: “Somebody, somewhere, is eating a Toffee Crisp”.
John Henderson was heavily involved in the Calderdale community through Halifax Rotary, Loyal Georgians, Halifax Housing Association, Mackintosh Homes, the Waterhouse Trust, White Windows, Bradley Hall Golf Club, Halifax Thespians and Stafford Bowling Club.
He died in December, 2011 at the age of 83.
His daughter added,
“He lived life with a very strong moral compass, was extremely determined and a hard worker who lived life to the full and never wasted a day, ever, which is a lesson to us all… He was quite an inspiration and a well liked and respected gentleman.”