Here at Retro Sweet we love everything candy-related and we love reminding you about your favourite sweets from times gone by. But have you ever wondered where those sweets originated from, or just how long they’ve been part of British confectionery? We thought we’d delve into the history of some of the retro sweets that we’ve been eating since we were little!

Where did Parma Violets come from?

Back in the 1920s, a company named Matlow Brothers was established, who produced jellies and chews in a factory in east London. Five years later, they merged with a rival factory owner who specialised in fizzy tablet sweets, and the company Swizzles-Matlow was born. Violet plants were grown and traded by the ruling elite and the violet flavour was very popular in World War I. Parma Violets were launched in 1946 and sold for a halfpenny.

The Swizzles-Matlow factory still makes sweets in similar methods to how they were in the 50s, and some 70 year old machinery is still used on the factory floor!

retro parma violets

Who created the Drumstick?

The Drumstick was actually also created by Swizzles-Matlow, but it was actually an accident! One of the founders’ sons, Trevor Matlow, was experimenting and discovered that you could pour two flavours into the machine, milk and raspberry, and insert a stick to make a lolly. The Drumstick was born in 1957 and is still popular today.

retro drumsticks

The history behind Love Hearts

More than 7 million Love Hearts are made daily with over 134 messages printed on them. Launched in 1954, outdated messages have been changed over the years, such as the ‘Far Out, Man’ printed Love Hearts from the 60s. In 1998, ‘Email Me’ was added to the list of messages. Swizzles-Matlow certainly have been busy, as Love Hearts are another of their signature sweets! Made in the ‘powder room’, sugar is ground to a power before it is coloured, flavoured and squished into tablets.

retro love hearts

How long have Jelly Babies been around for?

Well-known confectionery company Bassett’s invented Jelly Babies, although they were originally manufactured as ‘Peace Babies’ in 1918 to mark the end of World War I. They were renamed in the 1950s as the Jelly Babies we know today!

retro jelly babies

If this has got you craving something sweet, head over to our huge range of retro sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth!