The UK’s favourite chocolatier

100 Years of Thorntons.

In 1911 Joseph William Thornton, a travelling confectioner, opened up his very first shop in Sheffield. Handing the keys over to his sons, he said, ‘Make this the best sweet shop in town!’

Norman and Stanley Thornton did as they were asked, and more. It became the best sweet shop in almost every town.

Offering a wide range of chocolates, toffee and fudge, Thorntons has become the nation’s favourite place for an indulgent treat or a special gift. Constantly creating new recipes, they offer something for everyone, even for those who need to avoid sugar. Whatever your favourite flavour, whether it’s cool mint, or adventurous chilli, or just traditional plain chocolate, you will find something to suit you or your loved one.

The History of Thorntons

In the first shop, Thorntons Chocolate Kabin, they served Kunzle cakes, a type of cup cake brought to England by the Swiss chocolatier, Christian Kunzle. They also sold some unusual sweets, such as the small lozenges known as cachous, which could also be bought flavoured with violets, and perfumed sweets called Phul-Nanas. Also on offer were Curiously Strong Mints, and Mackinton’s Toffee Deluxe, which the staff would break up with toffee hammers.

Thorntons has always had a long tradition of creating new confectionary and flavours, and in the 1920s they introduced several new products, including Rose Creams, Coconut Ice and Chocolate Brazil Nuts. They also began their famous Easter Eggs in this decade, with the Thorntons name written on the egg in icing, and advertised as ‘Every Egg in a neat white box’.
In 1924, Stanley Thornton re-developed their famous toffee to make it even better, calling it ‘Thorntons Special Toffee’. It was to become the shop’s most popular product for the next fifty years and Stanley’s original recipe is still used today.

The brothers continued to expand the business in the 1930s, and opened several new shops and factories. By 1938 they had 35 shops in 18 towns. More products were developed, such as chocolate truffles, fudge and crystallised fondants. Unfortunately, the Second World War halted further progress for a while, and some of the shops were lost in air raids, or because the lease expired.

The company bought the Belper Factory in Belper, Derbyshire for £8,400 in 1948, and soon afterwards Norman’s son Peter joined the business and was based at Belper, and in 1954 the Swiss chocolatier Walter Willen joined the company and developed the Continental Assortment, which remains one of Thorntons’ most popular boxes of chocolates.

Since then Thorntons has continued to expand its business, with new shops and factories, and the first Café Thorntons opened in 1966 in London. In 2011 Thorntons celebrated its 100th birthday. With over 600 stores all over the UK Thorntons continues to go from strength to strength.

‘Everyone at Thorntons is excited to be celebrating 100 years of creating delicious chocolates but what the next 100 years holds is an even more exciting prospect.’

Getting in contact

Opening hours Mon – Sat: 08:30 – 17:30 : Sun : 10:30 – 16:30
Phone 01295 273134
Located Castle Quay Shopping Centre