Author aims to tell real story behind Fry's sweet success

Published on: 05 Oct 2013

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An author fascinated by business histories is aiming to tell the full story behind Fry’s rise, reinvention and the role of its Somerdale site.

John Bradley, who lives in Canada, has published his latest book, Fry’s Chocolate Dream, in which he says he sets out not just to tell the “what happened” but also “the why and how”.

As well as charting the key events in the company’s history, he says he aims to answer questions such as how Fry’s rose to be the world’s biggest manufacturer of cocoa and chocolate before the outbreak of the First World War and tell the “real story” behind the closure of Somerdale.

He said: “Just how bad for both firms was the amalgamation between Fry’s and Cadbury’s?

“Why, after Fry’s had just successfully completed one of the largest industrial relocations in Britain, did Cadbury’s arbitrarily force the liquidation of J.S. Fry & Sons?

“How did Fry’s, by then under the leadership of a renegade son of George Cadbury, completely reinvent itself during and after the Second World War to become Britain’s most vibrant chocolate company? John Bradley

“It is a fascinating and surprising story.”

Mr Bradley worked for Cadbury’s for 24 years, a career which eventually took him to Canada. Before then he was a frequent visitor to the factory at Somerdale, the closure of which he examines in the book.

He said: “One job I did in the UK for several years was marketing manager for seasonal products which included several Somerdale-produced lines such as selection boxes, Mini Eggs and Assorted Nuts, so I made many trips to Somerdale and was always fascinated by the history behind it and Fry’s.”

Fry’s Chocolate Dream is 190 pages long and features more than 200 archive images to help tell the firm’s story.

Mr Bradley, who has also written Cadbury’s Purple Reign and two other books, is visiting the Keynsham area at the end of October to promote his latest publication in local bookstores. Before then, it is available online at Amazon, priced at £19.95.

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