Between October, 1921 to March, 1922 Harold Mackintosh bought seven full-pages in national daily newspapers and commissioned the best-known comic artists to contribute drawings on the subject of Toffee Town and what they imagined it to be like. During the six months run, they had pages, front pages in those days, one a month in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily News, Daily Mirror, Daily Sketch and several of the leading provincial newspapers. This scheme was huge by the standards of the day and cost approximately £25,000.
For the first cartoon Harold Mackintosh commissioned Heath Robinson, who at that time was at the height of his fame, contributing to Punch magazine and other humorous journals. He became famous for comic drawings which depicted elaborate sets of machinery, constructed in a lunatic but logical way that, to generations since, have become known as ‘a bit of a Heath Robinson’. His Toffee Town design was a masterpiece of comic invention. This was Robinson’s first big advertising commission.
The second cartoon was by Charles Harrison. He pictured Toffee Town as being full of odd signposts and crazy monuments, beginning with the Egyptian Pharoah, Tutankhamun. In 1922 the tomb had only just been discovered. Through a series of elaborate and sometimes dubious depictions of people Harrison showed the global impact that Toffee De Luxe had on the world.
George Morrow, pictured toffee’s progress in episodes from pre-history to King John agreeing to sign the Magna Carta becasue of the promise of unlmited toffee and Catherine Parr winning the heart of King Henry the Eighth with a tin of Mackintosh’s toffee. When Oliver Cromwell cried “Take away this bauble!” the bauble on the Speaker’s Table was a large tin of ‘any old’ toffee.
Thank you to Bankfield Museum, Boothtown, Halifax for allowing access to the above illustrations.
For more information about the museum click here.