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Our story.

From humble beginnings in Sheffield, Thorntons now resides in Derbyshire, continuing to create delicious confectionery for the Nation.


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Back in 1911...

Joseph Thornton, a travelling confectioner, opened a sweet shop in Sheffield, which he asked his son, Norman, to run for him… little did he know how popular Thorntons would become.

Originally selling sweet treats such as Violet Cachous and Sweet Lips, the popularity led to Norman bringing his brother, Stanley, on board. The brothers didn’t start making their own hand-made truffles and fondants until the 1920s… this is when the true craftsmanship of Thorntons began.

People standing outside of the Thorntons shop in Sheffield 1911.

The 1920s

1922 saw the start of Thorntons personalising chocolates, with the brothers hand-icing Easter eggs, which were then packaged in a simple white box.

Along with their delicious chocolates, our Special Toffee also appeared in the 1920s – 1925 to be precise. The recipe for this particular favourite took 50 attempts to get just right, and this same recipe is still used today, albeit with a few delicate tweaks.

Close-up of Thorntons toffee on a marble surface.

Our first factory

Before long there was a purpose built factory for Thorntons to produce it’s confectionery creations. As the business continued to expand and its popularity grew, production was moved to Derbyshire, just down the road from where it is today, and has stayed there for almost 40 years.

This location saw the introduction of our Fabulous Fudge and the creation of our original Continental range.

People working at Thorntons first factory in Derbyshire.
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Our Royal visit

In 1983 construction started on Thornton Park in Alfreton, Derbyshire. It was opened by HM the Queen in 1985, where it remains today, creating and producing delicious confections and chocolates.

Happy Birthday Thorntons!

In 2011 Thorntons celebrated its Centenary with a number of events, such as the mechanical chocolatier, the golden key competition and, digging into the recipe archives, produced some special Centenary chocolates.

Overhead view of a Thorntons Classic box with a Happy Birthday gift sleeve.

Joining the Ferrero Group

In 2015 Thorntons became part of the Ferrero Group! This led to reimagining and remastering of some of the most popular Thorntons chocolates and also the introduction of some new creations.

Through all this change over the years, Thorntons’ has always had the same purpose at heart… to bring you delicious sweet treats to gift and enjoy, understanding that the Nation loves chocolate.

Men standing outside of a shop.
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Why Thorntons

For over a century, Thorntons has specialised in crafting high quality chocolate, sweets, toffee, fudge and other confectionery.

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