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Our Story
300 years in the making

   300 Years of liquorice production in Pontefract   

 J.H. Addingley and Sons 

The business was founded in 1860 by Mr Charles Tinker and Co, and taken over by J. H. Addingley and Sons in 1872. The company operated from Baghill Refinery, Pontefract. 

The ground floor of the three storey building consisted of offices, a warehouse, packing room as well as mechanics’ and joinery shops for repairing the plant, and an engine house. The first and second floors were occupied by plant machinery driven by a steam-engine and a ‘Griffin’ gas engine. 

The company closed in 1937. 

Geo. Bassett and Co Ltd 

George Bassett a wholesale confectioner, lozenge maker and wine dealer founded his Sheffield based business in 1842. In 1851, George Bassett took on a twelve year old apprentice, Samuel Meggitt Johnson who later became his business partner and son- in- law. 

The first factory opened in 1852 and operated from Portland Street. The premises were extended in 1876 and boasted state of the art equipment including boiling pans rotated by steam power. The factory employed around 150 workers. 

In 1878 George Bassett had a stroke and died in 1886 aged 68. Samuel Johnson took over the running of the family business. 

In 1900 a new factory built at Owlerton traded under the name of S. M. Johnson and Son, where candied peel, gums, and other goods were made. The company moved all operations to Owlerton in 1934. 

The factory was enlarged during the inter-war period as new products such as Jelly Babies, Wine Gums and liquorice novelties were added to the range. In April 1939 buildings were damaged when a huge sugar fuelled fire blazed. The ‘invention’ of the famous Liquorice Allsorts was the result of a happy accident. In 1899 while on business in Leicester, sales representative Charlie Thompson dropped a tray of liquorice and cream paste samples of chips, rocks, buttons, cubes and twists. The resulting colourful mix impressed the shopkeeper who placed the first order for ‘allsorts’. 

The company’s mascot Bertie Bassett, made from liquorice allsorts was created by John McEwan and launched in 1929. 

Geo. Bassett and Co Ltd bought W. R. Wilkinson and Co Ltd of Pontefract in 1961, Barratt’s in 1966, and Trebor before being bought themselves by Cadbury-Schweppes in 1989. Bassett continued as a brand of Cadbury owned by Mondelēz International. 

Joseph Bellamy and Sons 

In 1870 Joseph Bellamy started manufacturing confectionery in Leeds, but in 1899 moved to Castleford. He converted the Mountain Nail Works in Queen Street into a liquorice refinery and confectionery factory. 

In 1935 Joseph Bellamy and Sons Ltd became incorporated. 

The company became known for their mint imperials, French almonds as well as chocolate covered liquorice allsorts.
The business re-located to Wheldale Mills and was run in turn by the Bellamy family until it was taken over by John Mackintosh Ltd in early 1964. 

It was re-named Anglo Bellamy Ltd in 1976 when the marketing, selling and administrative operations of Anglo Confectionery Ltd and Bellamy and Sons Ltd merged into a single company.
In 1970 a new factory next to the original site was opened by the Duchess of Kent. Shortly afterwards the old works were demolished. 

The Nestlé group acquired Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988. 


By 1720 and probably earlier, the Dunhill family rented the land in Pontefract Castle for growing liquorice. They stored harvested liquorice roots in the castle cellars, which had previously been used for storing weapons, gunpowder and prisoners. 

Dunhills’ later packaging claims that they had been making liquorice confectionery since 1760. George Dunhill, who became a chemist, is reputed to have added sugar to the medicinal recipes to make the first liquorice sweet. He was only seven years old at the time. 

By 1779 George Dunhill, the reputed inventor of Pontefract Cakes, owned a house, warehouse and garden in Broad Lane. He also had a liquorice garth (plot) behind this property, and at least one nearby called Roper Garth. 

He carried on his liquorice business until his death in 1824 when it was taken over by his son Francis. Ann Dunhill, Francis’ widow, ran the company after her husband died. 

In 1872 the company played a part in national politics. In this year; Parliament passed the Secret Ballot Act and Pontefract had the first by-election held under the new system. Wax seals on surviving ballot boxes show that instead of the stamp of the borough, Dunhills’ Pontefract cake stamp was used! 

Pontefract Liquorice Co

Pontefract is a small market town located just east of the city of Wakefield, as you can see from above it has a rich history of confectionery production here at the Pontefract Liquorice co we want to carry on that rich tradition and continue too supply the public with the very best liquorice based confectionery products, we are a family run business and as a family we have been manufacturing confectionery products in the surrounding areas of Pontefract for over 100 years at the time of writing. Having established a successful wholesale business and attending large scale events such as the the Great Yorkshire Show and the annual Liquorice festival held in Pontefract town, we decided to put our liquorice products on the web any make them accessibly to everyone who are not able to attend these events we have also added a few online treats and gifts and ideas, for that perfect bespoke gift.


thank you for visiting our website we hope you find what you are looking for.


all the best from our family to yours.



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