Hackney Bridge

The Sweet History Behind Hackney Bridge

The Sweet History Behind Hackney Bridge

May 16, 2023 admin 0 Comments


The site where Hackeny Bridge is located today is steeped in the industrial history of London. The production of shoes, spectacles, and furniture were widespread in the area of Hackney Wick, yet, the largest and most renowned operation was the Clarnico Sweet Factory  located exactly on the site of Hackney Bridge.

The Clarnico Sweet Factory

The Clarnico Sweet Factory was initially located in Shoreditch, but moved to the current location of Hackney Bridge in 1897 on Waterden Road. The factory grew to become the largest sugar confectionery in Britain.

By 1899, the factory employed well over 2,000 workers throughout its candy manufacture and production as well as box manufacturing operations. The workers developed the many lines of candies made here, including mints, caramels, marzipan, and chocolate, all of which were sold under the moniker “jolly good sweets”.

Sweet Selections: Clarke, Clarnico Specialties Illustrated Nicholls and Combs Ltd, 1906.

In its heyday, not only was it the largest sweet factory in the country, but it was also ahead of its time when it came to the welfare and wellness of its employees. Before it was popular to practise corporate social responsibility, they established social groups, built a rehabilitation facility, and even ran their own fire and ambulance service for the neighbourhood.

The Women of Clarnico

In addition, thanks to the generosity and friendliness of the founders, many unmarried women preferred to work here as the terms of their employment were considerably more beneficial than at other contemporaneous enterprises. The company finally closed its doors in 1973, when it was acquired by Trebor. Cadbury later purchased Trebor in 1989.

Women Employed by Clarnico from ‘Life is sweet’ by Sally England

Hackney Bridge Today

Although the historic buildings of The Clarnico Sweet Factory have long ago vanished, Hackney Bridge is proudly carrying on the heritage of this place, via our community activities and outreach. We are also delighted to be home to our very own sweet cake shop: Cake Cult.

In addition, Hackney Bridge worked closely with local artist Busk in collaboration with Hackney’sGlobal Street Art for the creation a mural to celebrate the working women of the Clarnico Sweet Factory and the surrounding factories who bravely carried on working and serving the country despite the heavy bombing by the Nazi throughout the war and especially during September of 1944.

Together with the local community, Hackney Bridge, celebrates the industrial heritage of this part of London and the impact of the Clarnico Sweet Factory in the area. Interested in finding out more about our site? Visit us Monday-Sunday and get to know all the food and retail vendors located on site, as well as, our terrance and lower tier gardens.

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