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Packer's to LEAF (UK) 1881 - 1991

A Short History of Chocolate Making in Greenbank, Bristol

1881 Mr Packer, who was an ex-employee of Fry's, founded the company at 46 Armoury Square, Stapleton Road, Easton. He employed three people who were each paid 2/6d (12.5p) a week.

1884 The company moved to new premises in St Paul's Street.

1886 Mr Bruce Cole paid 950 in his take-over of the company. (Are Bruce Road and Bruce Avenue, in Greenbank, named after this former owner?)

1892 A London Sales Office was opened. Wages in the factory were now 4/6d (22.5p) a week.

1900-1902 The company bought land at Greenbank and built a three block factory. Steam engines were operating there in 1901 and production moved from St Pauls to Greenbank in 1902.

1906 A Grand Opening of the factory was held with Wholesalers from across the country attending. Between 1903 to 1912 sales increased by 250%.

Boy workers

1912 'Charles Bond' was formed as a subsidiary company to specialise in high class chocolate products. At this time a controlling interest in the Glasgow-based firm 'Carson's' was acquired.

Girl workers

1913 Production at Carsons Glasgow factory was moved to a newly built factory at Shortwood, Bristol.

Men at machines

1930s This period of recession forced the company to sell off its playing fields, pavilion and company houses. Wages were cut from 72/- (3.60p) to 66/6d (3.38p) a week.

A woman at a machine

1939-1945 During World War II there was rationing this, however, meant that there was stability for the company with everything it produced being sold. Part of the factory was taken over by the American Army during the war.

1950-1960 These were difficult years for the company and there was little investment in new machinery. The work force at this time was around 1,100 people.

1961 The Shortwood factory was sold and Carsons moved to Packer's factory at Greenbank.

1964 Packers/Carsons/Bond was bought by Jimmy Goldsmith and Cavernham Confectionery was formed.

1965-1966 Yeatmans of London and Paramount Laboratories were bought and their production of sweet cigarettes was moved to Greenbank.

1968 Elizabeth Shaw brand name and recipes were bought and production started in Bristol.

1972 A contract was won to produce a range of Easter eggs and novelties for Lindt. New production facilities for the moulding and production of milk and plain chocolate were installed.

1981 The company was sold by Cavenhams for 8,000,000 and became known as Famous Names Ltd.

1985 Famous Names was taken over by Imperial Tobacco plc.

1986 Imperial Tobacco was taken over by Hanson Trust.

1988 The company changed its name to Elizabeth Shaw Ltd.

1989 The company management (and a small interest from the Leaf Group) buy out Hanson.

1990 LEAF acquired remaining shares from the directors. Elizabeth Shaw was formed as the UK Division of LEAF.

LEAF is the international confectionery wing of the Huhtamaki Group of Finland.

1991 Elizabeth Shaw Ltd became LEAF UK Ltd.

Names used by the company: Yeatmans, Charles Bond, Filleries, S Parkinson & Son, Elizabeth Shaw, Walter Palm, Paramount Laboratories, Carsons, McKays, HJ Packer, Holland, Ewbanks, Famous Names.

See also Kate Horner's Story for an account of working life at Packers of Greenbank.