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27 April 2004
Retro flavours for Lancastrian sweet teeth
by Anne-Louise Mazzafiore
Kath Lawson
Kath's will power is tested as she is surrounded by her favourite sweets

Pocket money treats like liquorice root, sarsaparilla tablets and coltsfoot rock are unlikely to wow the children of the 21st century, but for all of us who grew up way back when, a retro sweetie fix can do wonders to raise a sugary smile. In Oswaldtwistle you can re-live and re-suck those toothsome memories at Stockley's Sweets.


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Stockley's Sweets
Moscow Mill
Colliers Street
Tel: 01254 232807

Stockley's Sweets exhibited their goods at the World Exhibition in San Francisco in 1939.


Stockleys Sweets

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Kath Lawson runs the sweet shop in the Bubble Factory at Oswaldtwistle Mills. Stockley's have been manufacturing sweets since 1918 and Kath's favourite nibble is cinder toffee. "It's absolutely brilliant if you crumble it on ice cream!"

She's also rather partial to liquorice, coltsfoot rock, pineapple cubes and sarsaparilla tablets. "Sarsaparilla tablets were a childhood favourite of mine although unfortunately we have had to make a few alterations on the recipe due to new EEC regulations."

There is a visitor centre where you can see how the sweets are made before you face the challenge of what candy coated delights to get your chops round.

man stirring syrup
Getting sticky with it

"We've tried to recreate Mr Stockley's old kitchen where he started making his sweets by hand on his kitchen table. You can look through the viewing windows where you can watch cinder toffee being made, and all the pick 'n' mix sweets. Then you can sample all the sweeties, that's the attraction definitely!"

Once you've done gawping at the sticky process of sweet making, brace yourself for a whopper of a sugar fix. Kath boasts, "We've got the biggest pear drop in the world in a glass cabinet on the way out before you go into the shop. And yes, it is a real sweet. Pear drops are manufactured and then crystallised in a crystallising pan but because the pear drop is so big, obviously we couldn't get it in a pan, so we had to leave it uncrystallised so it's just sugar coated. It is actually nine years old now, so it's getting a bit worn!"

The giant pear drop might be showing its age now, as might you, but the memories in an old style sweet shop can be lip-lickingly comforting, however old they are.

What's your favourite sweet? Send in your favourites on the form below.

dollimix because they r just gorgeous.
Abbie Tombs, Oxford

I am a big fan of the coltsfoot rock as I usually crush it up and put it in tea.
John Henry, Newtownards, County Down

Pontefract cakes, Kay li and liquorice straw and liquorice root.
Colin Benbow, Shearwater, Tasmania

Aniseed balls.
Trevor Cowie, Accrington

Rosey apples. I actually visited Oswaldtwistle mills and stockleys sweets visitor centre last march, and took myself a big jar of rosey apples and for my sister a jar of straweberry 'n cream drops. I love them!
Wendy Romkes, Deventer, Holland

Fruit Salad and Blackjacks. They could both rip-out fillings in your teeth quicker than anything else.
Keith Rumley, Poole, Dorset

Acid drops that my grandma used to get for us when she came to visit from hove sussex.
Eve Harris, Nottingham

Bassetts Liquorice sticks the hard ones!
Louise, Preston

Sweet Tobacco! I found it online at
David, Skegness

Doris Eccles, Stevenage

Kay li, with a licorice stick. Or how about plot toffee.
John Turner, Solvang, California

Dorothy Spagnuolo, Vicenza, Italy

Fizzy cola bottles.
Marjorie Devonport, Blackpool

Les Howell, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA

Liquorice in any form or shape.
Barbara Robinson, Chorley

Uncle Joe's mints, Everton mints, and pear drops. We used to stop at the sweet shop in Chorley on the way to school to get a quarter of sweets when we could afford them!
Sue Hesketh, Perth, Western Australia

MB Bars, Rhubard Rock, Pan Drops.
Maria, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Dolly mixtures - grew up eating them in Bispham! Edinburgh Rock. Coconut Ice.
Judy Tejani, Staten Island, New York, USA

your name
your e-mail address
town/city and country
my favourite sweet is

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