Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sepia Saturday 68 : The Pervasive Aroma Of Boiling Toffee.


Great metal spanners, bolts, cranks, steaming pipes, oil cans ... the tools of the trade of the engineer were on full display in this weeks' Sepia Saturday archive image. And I can never think of such things without thinking of my father, who throughout his working life made, repaired and tended machines. His machines were of a different type and scale to the one on show in the archive image - his stock in trade were the machines that made, wrapped and packaged the wide variety of chocolates and toffees that eventually would become Mackintosh's Quality Street. I never inherited his mechanical skills - they did, however, pass to my brother - and I would have difficulty knowing one end of a spanner from the other!

My main picture features my father - this week with his trousers set firmly around his waist. He is pictured with one of his Mackintosh workmates - I seem to remember that he might have been called Bob. The building in the background would, I assume, have been the Bailey Hall factory in Halifax, where he worked for the last 25 years of his working life. A large number of women worked in the factory, sorting and packing brightly wrapped sweets and chocolates, and this is why, I assume, that there were separate entrances for men and women. When I was young and late coming home from school, I would sometimes walk down to the Bailey Hall factory and wait outside those big stone walls for my father to leave at the end of his working day so I could get a lift home with him. The memory is a rich mixture of sights, sounds and the sweet pervasive aroma of boiling toffee.


You can find a rich variety and a sparkling selection box of other old images in this weeks' Sepia Saturday collection. You can open the lid by going over to the Sepia Saturday blog and following the links.



40 comments:

  1. Thanks CB. You need to amend your new business card to read "Strategic Management, Facilitation and Proof Reading"

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  2. Alan - you corrected it, so let's delete this conversation. No-one will know and I won't let on.

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  3. CB : But I will know, and that knowledge will eat into my soul. And just, on some bright new Spring morning, when I think the shame has finally been leached out of my very being, Wikileaks will pass what I thought was a deleted conversation onto the Guardian

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  4. Alan: there's only one cure for the shame - it was nice knowing you!

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  5. CB : I fear you might be right. But surely after the deadly deed is done, at least one or two of my loyal readers might say "what a waist".

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  6. An early "No Smoking" sign, I see.

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  7. What a delightful memory you have shared here, Alan...and talk about Charlie in the Chocolate Factory! Did you get to sample all those delicious sweets and choclates, or were you only able to enjoy the delicious smells wafting in the air?

    Quality Street chocs & toffees are my husband's and my favourite...he eats the toffees, I eat the chocs (but not the orange and strawberry entres...who DOES like those?)

    Now, I'm intrigued! What's all this hush-hush talk of wastes and waists???

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  8. OOOPS!!! With all these spell-checkers lurking on the net, I'm here to correct my own error in...c h o c o l a t e... so you know I can spell correctly :)

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  9. Great photo of your dad, nice memories and one very cool tin tray (I spelled it try at first and started sweating bullets, as Chairman Bill is on the scene). Nice way to start my Saturday. Thank You.

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  10. Interesting description and photo of your father who 'repaired and tended machines.' Also the sensory appeal 'The memory is a rich mixture of sights, sounds and the sweet pervasive aroma of boiling toffee.' I live close to a large Heinz factory and the aroma of tomato paste and spices during harvest is indelible.

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  11. Nice picture Alan. I think the pervasive aroma of boiling toffee sounds like a very good thing.

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  12. I once worked at packaging things like nuts when working for a temporary agency. There was a man whose job was just to fix the machines whenever there was a problem, and he was always busy.

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  13. While came by for a quick jont
    And now they are picking at your font
    Oh meant spelling
    But I guess it's good they are telling
    Then you can fix it
    Causing no more a fit
    It was I nice little read today
    I just wanted to say
    So have a nice Saturday
    And off I go on my way

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  14. Great photo of your father again, and I find the sign, "Mens entrance" so interesting...now did they have a women's too, and I wonder where the entrance led to? Staight away to the factory or maybe a locker room area! I can almost smell what you described too...as I once made homemade taffy! Chocolate is another strong forceful aroma! A very fitting post to go with man and his machines! What a wonderful world has and is still be created!

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  15. Separate entrances for a factory. I guess I never considered it. Here in the southern US, I am used to seeing separate entrances on very old churches...now you have given me the notion to go look up some of my old photos...

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  16. Yes, you're right, it was Bob Nolan. Before moving on to Mackintoshes, Albert and Bob worked togther for many years at "Fields" a Bradford Company that manufactured packaging/over printing machinery. I also served part of my "time" at Makintoshes, but can't remember the door shown. What is unusual is that my father is not wearing a tie. The status of engineers in those days warranted a proper dress code.

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  17. I think he looks pretty much the same as he did when he wore his pants around his chest. what a waist it would have been to delete the conversation about his waste.

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  18. There used to be a pie factory round here when I was a kid and the smell was unbelievable. Not as nice as toffee, though.

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  19. What a wonderful memory! I'm sure the smell of sweets can take you back there any time.

    Can I borrow Chairman Bill? I need a good proofreader myself! ;)

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  20. Betsy : Not sure I am prepared to let you borrow him, but I might sell him to you if you like.

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  21. A friend just told me about purchasing a bag of unwrapped caramels especially for baking!! I wonder how many toffee workers will lose their jobs packaging caramels.
    Loved the photo of your dad and his mate on the job. What a great keepsake.
    Nancy
    Ladies of the grove

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  22. Well Alan and Bill did enjoy the discussion part of your post along with the photo and story. Now talking about aromas, you should live in a bourbon making town. Mash, mash, mash. I wonder sometimes if I am sotted up after I get home from a trip to town. LOL.
    QMM

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  23. Mmmmmm.....MacIntosh Quality Street toffee. Here, I just indulge at Christmas as a very special treat.

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  24. Maybe Chairman Bill can head the Spelling Police?
    Love the photo of your father and the old toffee tin. I wonder how often you got to sample the wares from this factory.

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  25. A wonderful post full of evocative details. I loved reading it. And I would like a toffee please!

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  26. A Toffee Factory! It is remarkable how the smells one remembers from childhood linger strongly. My father worked in a paper mill when I was young, & I can remember the smells & the general feeling from inside that building even tho it's been over 45 years since I was there. I think I'd take the toffee factory odors!

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  27. Obviously it's critical to have your trousers up high so you can tuck in your tie. Don't want it dangling in the toffee, after all.

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  28. Alan, your father and Bob are looking fine here. Did he still like candy at all, or did his job spoil that for him?

    Also, I need to talk to you about putting you on retainer. It seems that readers of my blog really appreciate your comments, perhaps more than the blog itself. The latest one was my mother, but she's not the first! You are quite popular here.

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  29. Alan, Bob in your photo could be a thinner version of my father-in-law who was also named Bob.Toffee is a banned substance in our house now. I can smell the aroma from your post.

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  30. Lovely photo of two workmates looking relaxed. I think the smell of hot toffee would have tormented me something terrible :-) Jo

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  31. Great story... and great scents in your mental files as well, I'm sure.

    I constantly see "waist" and "waste" confused on the 'net, by the way. Some of our dearest Blogger-blogger friends do it, alas. Also, "site" and "sight," "peek" and "peak," and the list goes on... and so do I...

    And don't even get me started on the use of "and" in place of "an!" ("I ate and apple today." "You did what???")

    [Silver Fox proofreads comment 47 times before daring to hit "Publish Your Comment."]

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  32. They look Happy in Their Jobs.
    as A Kid Growing Up in 50s Halifax I remember it as a town of rich smells (places dont smell the same these days...)Mackintoshes had (of course).A Sweet smell.Ramsden's Brewery had its own rich aroma as you walked past it.The Mills Too gave off their own signature.

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  33. My Dad was an auto electrician for a bus company. Sometimes, I would walk down to his garage from town and meet him. I loved the smell of grease and oil from the heavy engines. I guess I associated it with him.

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  34. Alan, this was a very "sweet" post. Sorry, I could not resist writing that, the story was a wonderful remembrance. Thanks.

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  35. OH MY!!
    MACINTOSH's toffee???
    CHILDHOOD MEMORIES HERE FOR ME!!!!
    t'was my favorite thing.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  36. Ohhhhhh, did he bring home samples or seconds? I would have been in his pockets every single time he came home. I don't know what English toffee my Scottish grandmother used to bring me. Perhaps it was this very brand. Fond memories. Thanks for the trip back in time and seeing someone who might have been responsible for obliging my sweet tooth!

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  37. Lovely memories and a great photo. I love a good sense memory because it can be triggered when you least expect it.

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  38. Your Father was a handsome fellow..I enjoyed the photo:)

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