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Image by Viktor Talashuk

Toffee Works


Did you know?

Life was not always ‘sweet’ for the workers.  One person told his story of cleaning out the boilers one day and ending up being covered in what he thought was black ash.  In fact, it turned out he had cockroaches crawling all over him!


Bootle's Toffee Works

Did you know?

One of their slogans was: ‘the nicest toffee made’!


Did you know?

The factory had its own football team

Toffee Works

Bootle’s toffee factory was opened in 1905 on Waterworks Street.  It was owned by the ‘Williams Ltd’ company. The original founders of Williams's Toffee works were Tom and Henry Williams. The production started in various locations in a road parallel to Bold Street in Liverpool, and moved to Waterworks Street Bootle in about 1904.


Toffee was created by heating sugar and butter in boilers.  The mixture would be poured out and left to cool, where it would eventually harden into the sweet.  

Did you know?

People sometimes died from eating sweets because some had poison in!


Original Williams's Toffee Tin

Did you know?

Because sugar comes from other countries, it would be imported into the docks which was why Bootle was a popular place for a toffee factory

Williams Ltd sold a few different types of sweets, including cream toffee and chocolate.  One local resident recalled how she could tell what was being made from the various smells.  Thursday was her favourite day because that was ‘butterscotch day’.


It was fortunate for the factory that sugar was so cheap by the 20th century.  In the 19th century, sugar was much more expensive.  This meant people used substitutes for sugar in their sweets.  In 1858, in Bradford, over 20 people died from eating humbugs containing arsenic!  Arsenic poisoning  caused lumps to grow on your skin and horrible crusty layers to grow on your feet...then you died. Nice!


The Williams Ltd toffee factory was closed and demolished by 1994. 

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