“It’s about more than just chocolate. It’s about how things were and how things are; it’s about looking at how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go.”
Its March 8th, 2018 and as we celebrate International Women’s Day, Ben Rosenfield from York’s Chocolate Story is talking to us about the attraction’s 2018 exhibition, Times of Change: Women and Confectionery
“Chocolate is a universally-beloved product that crosses cultural and economic boundaries. We’re here to celebrate York’s unique chocolate stories and confectionery heritage. Our annually-rotating exhibition celebrates this, picking a topic that highlights original areas of the city’s past. This year, we wanted to ‘widen the remit’, so to speak. As 2018 marks 100 years since women first got the vote*, and York has a rich history of female confectionery icons, women and confectionery seemed like the ideal topic.”
The exhibition looks into the lives of the women that shaped confectionery, but has wider implications. There are plenty of artefacts that people will recognise, such as the infamous Pink Yorkie and Vintage Quality Street tins. Nestled amongst the well-known brands are some rare and unusual gems…
“…like Terry’s Nutcracker promotional mirror – finding information on this brand proved to be the biggest challenge of all! My personal highlight in putting it all together has been interviewing former factory workers. The richness, diversity and content of their stories has been both eye-opening and humbling. We learned some incredibly interesting facts about life in the factories, not just as a women, but also as part of the wider York community. Key quotes from their testimonies have been placed along our chocolate river, making them a prominent feature”
York’s Chocolate Story were adamant that the exhibition would launch on International Women’s Day (8th March), a challenging deadline, but the team worked hard to get everything ready, including planning an evening event showcasing both the displays and a couple of new installations within the rest of the attraction too.
“We’ve transformed part of the attraction, creating more of a multi-sensory immersive experience to certain rooms, and it looks awesome! The event itself was a grand success. Speeches were made by 4 powerful women: Continuum Attraction’s CEO Juliana Delaney; York Central MP Rachael Maskell; Lord Mayor of York Barbara Boyce and our very own chocolatier, Chelsea Taylor.”
From Mary Tuke – known locally as “the mother of confectionery”- to Mary Ann Craven and her pioneering boiled sweets, York has some of the most wonderful unsung heroes in sweets treats. Their tenacity and perseverance turned them into sheer forces of nature; something that we should all aspire to be.
Times are still changing, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.
Click here to plan your visit to York’s Chocolate Story and check out their exhibition, or for more information about Continuum Attractions and how we bring stories to life check visit our Collaborate page.