Carson Collection

A small collection of early 20th century manuscript recipe books for confectionery and desserts.

About Carsons

Carsons Limited was founded in c.1887 by Zaver Marb and Julius Bechtie, two confectionery workers in Glasgow, and specialised in hand-made confectionery and marzipan goods. Their business was a success but, by the 1890s, they were looking for some capital investment to expand further. This was provided in 1895 by Bailie Carson, a well-to-do Irishman, who happened to be looking for a business venture for his two sons, James and William. As a boy, Carson had worked alongside Sir Thomas Lipton in the shops of Mr. Donaldson of Crown Street, and they had formed a close friendship.

Following Carson’s death in 1898 the firm was passed to two former employees, A. E. Hillard and F. E. Callum. The company went public in 1906. They had been specialising in ‘penny an ounce lines’, but Hillard came to realise that the real profits were to be made in producing the kind of high-class chocolate made by continental manufacturers. They abandoned the penny lines and began producing a range of fancy chocolates, selling them at the then astronomically high figure of 28/6d a box.

In 1911, the managing directors announced they were selling their interests to H.J. Packer & Co. Ltd. In 1913, Carsons moved production to new premises in Shortwood, just outside Bristol when Packer’s board decided that the Glasgow site was too small and difficult to extend.

About the collection

A small collection (10 items) of early 20th century manuscript recipe books for confectionery and desserts. It includes books on sugar and refrigeration techniques and a privately printed company history of Carsons. The collection also includes published texts relevant to the study of cookery such as A Handbook of Sugar Analysis. The recipe notebooks contain a list of ingredients but no method.

Finding aid

Online catalogue

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