Violet Mackintosh

"My husband, John Mackintosh was born on the 7th of July, 1868 and within months of him being born his Mum and Dad moved from Dukinfield, Cheshire to Halifax, a town that was growing into a great town for finding work in. They all lived at a Woodfield Cottage. John became engaged to me when I was Violet Taylor. We loved each other dearly and shared both a religious belief and later a belief that we could create our own business here in Halifax.

We were married in 1890 and bought a pastry cook's shop in King Cross Lane, here in Halifax where John took the grand title of being a 'manufacturing confectioner'. Little did he suspect that he would later bear the even grander title of Toffee King!

Now, there were only a few days between our wedding and the opening of the shop so these days were spent buying things that we needed with what money we had left. The shop wasn't doing too well to begin with and so I started to work on a recipe that would soon be known as 'Mackintosh's Celebrated Toffee'. We had no idea that what had started here in Halifax would soon be celebrated throughout the world!

I remember boiling that first lot of toffee in a brass pan over a kitchen fire. Our toffee literally spread to the whole of Yorkshire and then to other parts of the North of England before becoming famous throughout the whole of England. It wasn't long before countries all around the world wanted Mackintosh's toffees. Everything seemed to be going well for us but on November 2nd, 1911, in the dead of night there came a knock on our door. A man stood there, politely explaining that a puff of smoke was seen coming from under the warehouse door of the Queens Road Factory. Soon after that the factory roof collapsed illuminating the surrounding countryside with the great fire. At that time we lived close to the factory whilst John's mother lived opposite it. We rushed 'round there and together with mother knelt in prayer on the floor of the little parlour, illuminated by the factory as it burned to the ground. You can imagine how devastated we felt, but gradually the entire business was rebuilt in the town with ten times the capacity of the Queens Road Factory.

On Monday January 26th, 1920 I was slowly recovering from a serious illness. Throughout my illness, every morning, John spent the first half an hour sitting with me to lift my spirits. Then he'd toddle off to do what he did best, juggling several jobs and wearing several different hats throughout the day. He never seemed to pay heed to the fact that he'd already had a stern talking to from our Doctor about his health. The next morning my dear John went to pay his morning visit to me and sitting quietly by my bedside he suffered a heart attack and passed away."

In 1932 Violet passed away and in a locked desk drawer was found a small box that held three things. A photograph of John Mackintosh at the age of 18, a letter from her Sunday School and a page, torn out of a notebook. On the page in Violet's handwriting was that first recipe for the toffee that would grow to be celebrated throughout the World.

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