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Author Topic: Lettering in Sticks of Rock Candy  (Read 8823 times)

Offline Beebishop

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Lettering in Sticks of Rock Candy
« on: 09/11/2008 22:46:21 »
I see that this has been a previous question so:

There is a family story that my husband's great-grandfather George Joseph Bishop who was a confectioner in Waterford, Ireland, was the person (or maybe part of a team?) that came up with the trick to putting lettering in sticks of Rock. I am trying to confirm this but so far haven't come across any history info online, other than that this secret 'was passed down generation to generation'; however if the story is true it wouldn't have passed down too many generations as George died in 1938.


 

Offline RD

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Lettering in Sticks of Rock Candy
« Reply #1 on: 10/11/2008 00:37:34 »
possible leads....

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A DISTANT ancestor of mine was a partner in the sweet-making firm of Slade & Bullock. The 'Bullock' of the partnership was Ben Bullock, a Burnley miner who moved to Dewsbury in 1868 and began selling boiled sweets in Dewsbury and Heckmondwike markets. In 1876 he formed his own company and began increasing his range of products. One of these new products was the first example of lettered rock. I continue the story by quoting from an article in the Dewsbury Reporter, published in 1976. 'Ben turned out his first batch of lettered rock with the words 'Whoa Emma' inside them as a tribute to a popular song of the day.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-1243,00.html


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A day at the seaside was the closest that most 19th and early 20th century factory workers would get to a holiday, and they desired a cheap and cheerful gift to bring home as a souvenir. Legendary Victorian figure Dynamite Dick (rumoured variously to have come from Morecombe or Blackpool) borrowed the idea of Fair Rock and added a flourish of his own – lettering. This ensured rock’s association with individual resorts.
http://www.laterlife.com/laterlife-seaside-rock.htm


Quote
THE ORIGIN of lettered rock has been claimed by Blackpool's smaller neighbour and would-be rival, Morecambe. The town's claim is not easy to prove. In his recent history of the town - Lost Resort? The Flow and Ebb of Morecambe (Cicerone Press, 1990) - Roger Bingham repeats the claim. But even in such a closely-researched book, the most he can conclude is that 'though other resorts have challenged the claim that seaside rock originated in Morecambe, lettered rock probably did' (page 184). On the same page, there is a picture of Dick Taylor's rock shop and Mr Bingham dates the production of the first lettered rock to 'about 1925'.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-1243,00.html
« Last Edit: 10/11/2008 01:12:43 by RD »
 

Offline RD

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« Last Edit: 10/11/2008 01:45:53 by RD »
 

Offline Beebishop

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Lettering in Sticks of Rock Candy
« Reply #3 on: 10/11/2008 06:42:12 »
I've also been researching this today and am no closer to an definitive answer. Most people on the web just seem to be copying each other. A book called 'The heart of England' says that 'this edible literature was first created in London with untempting inscriptions like "Sir Robert Peel", until Ben Bullock from Dewsbury, on holiday in Blackpool in 1887, had the idea that rock might spell the name of the resort where it was sold.'

So if this is true, it seems that Ben Bullock only made this method famous and thus was credited with the invention as so often happens.

Apparently letters and basic patterns had been put into Rock long before full words were put in.

Going by dates it seems unlikely that George Bishop invented it, but he did work with this method in Waterford. Not a place you would associate with Rock!
 

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Lettering in Sticks of Rock Candy
« Reply #3 on: 10/11/2008 06:42:12 »

 

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