Historical & Field Society

HISTORICAL & FIELD SOCIETY

Considering that we do not have Blue Birds in Britain we have a soft spot for them.Donald Campbell drove one, Vera Lynn sang about them and as our speaker this month, Julian Hunt told us, Harry Vincent made them as toffees. Vincent was a 19th-century Evesham confectioner in his early twenties, who set up in business in 1896 to cash in on Victorian England’s ever sweetening tooth. Two years later, he took over an old Birmingham ironworks, called it Toffee Mills, and produced a toffee called Harvino, an exotically Italian-sounding name combining the two halves of his name. Perhaps not an ideal choice, given Birmingham’s propensity to drop its aitches and eventually renamed ‘Blue Bird’.

By the 1920s, however, Harry Vincent had wider ambitions. Just as George Cadbury had moved his factory out of central Birmingham to the unpolluted fringes of the city, Vincent followed suit. He built the Blue Bird Toffee factory at Hunnington as a garden village. The factory buildings still remain on the Halesowen road heading towards Romsley. Alas, Blue Birds no longer fly over Hunnington. They took flight north from the West Midlands in 1998 to become part of Needler’s in Hull which was subsequently bought out by Ashbury Confectionery, who discontinued the brand.

Our next meeting at St Saviour’s Church Hall is on Tuesday 6 June 2017 at 8.00pm.  We are in for a treat as we welcome back Max Keen. He will give a presentation entitled “The English Civil War in Bewdley, Kidderminster, Worcester and Stourbridge”. If you have experienced any of his previous presentations you will already appreciate his flamboyant and entertaining style. Visitors are most welcome at all our events – see hhfs.org.uk for details and contacts.

Jeff Cope
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Last update: Tuesday 30 May 2017

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