HISTORY OF CONFECTIONERY DEVELOPMENTS LTD.
In a converted bakery just after WW2, Chris Warren and Jack Milross started making sweets for a large, nationally known firm on revolutionary depositing equipment that they had designed and made themselves. After completing that contract they closed the factory down – just for 6 months while they toured auction sales buying up machine tools – their intention being to re-open the factory and make machinery, not sweets. Confectionery Developments Ltd was founded in the mid 1950s and began making depositing plants.They went on to make equipment to cook the ingredients to make sweets, for adding flavour and colouring and for depositing all forms of sweets. Their equipment was complementary to that supplied by Baker Perkins Ltd and the end-products could, of course be wrapped on Rose Forgrove machines.
Gordon Steels remembers that it was a remark made by the Cadbury starchless moulding team at a meeting with Baker Perkins at Bourneville that led to the beginning of an association with, and later the acquisition of, Confectionery Developments Ltd by Baker Perkins. During this meeting, one of the Cadburys team mentioned that they had heard that a company called C.D. Ltd. had claimed that they had a depositing plant design that could be used for starchless moulding. Cadburys had investigated this claim but found the information was inaccurate and that the flexible moulds that C D Ltd. were using, would not handle the soft confectionery range needed for boxed chocolates and were limited to hard cremes and toffee.
On return to Peterborough this news was reported immediately as a possible future threat to the starchless moulding project, and within a few days contact was made with Chris Warren, the owner of C D Ltd., and a meeting arranged at Hemel Hempstead. This meeting resulted in an agreement between the two companies whereby BP would sell all the C D Ltd. products both in the home market and abroad, and provide technical support as and when needed.
A demonstration was laid on in the Experimental Department at Westwood Works for customers from all over the world at which both companies' machines were brought together. CD Ltd built a new factory, employing 30 people, in 1965 but this was soon being extended as exports rose from five to sixty percent of turnover.
This arrangement continued until 1969 when Baker Perkins decided to pull out of the sugar confectionery process machinery business and CD took over the production, under licence of relevant Baker Perkins equipment. Baker Perkins were still involved in helping to sell CD equipment in overseas markets and, in 1973, the company received the Queen's Award to Industry for Exports.
In the same year, Baker Perkins decided to get back into the confectionery machinery business and Chris Warren sold his company to Baker Perkins with an undertaking to remain with the business for a further three years. He left in May 1976, and Peter Lewis-Smith, became General Manager.
By 1980, as a result of difficult world trading conditions generally and a recession in the sugar confectionery machinery business in particular, the board of baker Perkins announced that it could no longer support manufacture at Hemel Hempstead. The factory was closed at the end of July and production transferred to Westwood Works, Peterborough.
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