Salaries and wages at Cadbury in January 1940. Photo / Gerard O’Brien

A glimpse in time of horse-drawn chocolate deliveries has been discovered amid the rubble of the old Cadbury factory in Dunedin.

Company records describing the history of the companies that operated the Cadbury Chocolate Factory have been kept by staff who demolished the building to make way for the new Dunedin Hospital.

The historical treasure was found in a closet on the second floor of the complex’s office building.

Its 16 volumes included Hudson & Co’s business records from 1899 to 1988, and incorporate its transition from a company founded by Richard Hudson and the merger with Cadbury Fry in 1929.

The cover of one of the company's 16 archival books found in the old Cadbury factory.  Photo / Gérard O'Brien
The cover of one of the company’s 16 archival books found in the old Cadbury factory. Photo / Gérard O’Brien

“This is a fantastic testament to the company’s development as it has transformed, survived two world wars, adapted to changing technologies and labor laws, and became a modern company. in the 20th century, ”said Megan Lawrence, senior archaeologist at New Zealand Heritage Properties. mentionned.

“Hudson & Co was a family business, with each of Hudson’s six sons having a role to play.

“His son Richard became the plant manager, Robert was the plant manager, Arthur was the cookie baker, Charles ran the flour mill, Bill was an engineer, and Alfred was the chocolate maker.”

The first entry, written in ornate cursive on cream-colored paper, reads: “A meeting of the directors of this company was held at the office of R. Hudson & Co. Moray Place Dunedin on Monday February 20, 1899 at 4 pm hours “

Hudson & Co. was not the first company to occupy the site, which housed a whiskey distillery and brewery before it was acquired by Hudson in 1898.

“Hudson moved to Dunedin in 1868 and became a pastry chef, operating in a High Street arcade. He went down and sold cookies on the docks. He then bought an old masonic hall on Moray Place, setting up a factory there in 1876.

Salaries and wages at Cadbury in January 1940. Photo / Gerard O'Brien
Salaries and wages at Cadbury in January 1940. Photo / Gerard O’Brien

“He came to New Zealand and trained in cookie making in Christchurch alongside John Griffin, who then founded Griffins Biscuits.

“In addition to cookies and chocolate, the Hudson line has expanded to include lozenges with flavors that we might consider unusual today: peppermint, cloves, musk, cayenne, ginger, lavender, rose and pear. . “

Lawrence was familiar with Richard Hudson’s history, but by reading the old files, she and the team learned even more about the historic family business.

“We can see that they were expecting their first ‘motor wagon’ in June 1913, but they were also looking to build a new stable.

In June 1916, raw materials were considered expensive because of the war, but trade was considered very satisfactory. And on July 13, 1929, they passed a resolution to merge with Cadbury and become Cadbury Fry Hudson Co.

Beginning in 1921, typed entries can be found pasted in books alongside handwritten entries, and the later books are fully typed.

The last minutes, dated May 11, 1988, mention the appointment to the board of FW Swan of Cadbury Schweppes Australia.

A spokesperson for the New Dunedin Hospital Department of Health said the project respected the heritage values ​​of the site and worked with Lawrence to ensure the preservation of historical finds and the telling of their stories.

All finds at the new Dunedin Hospital site were appropriately recorded, and Hudson & Co.’s historical books were likely to find a new home in a museum or collection.

Lawrence said the books weren’t the only interesting items found in the Cadbury office building.

“When the ancient plans were digitized for posterity, particularly tasty discoveries were made.

“We also found the blueprints for the Curly Wurly machine and the chocolate fish mold,” Lawrence said.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-10 22:34:32


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