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T. Cook’s Sweet Shop

Like the baker’s shop next door, the sweet shop is a replica of one from Birmingham Street, Oldbury.

The exhibit takes the name of Thomas Cook who ran a small confectionary business at 21 Bond Street, Dudley between 1871 and 1901.

As was usual in the Black Country at this time, the business was run on a modest scale, the premises consisting of a small front room shop and a back room preparation area.

The business was a typical family run operation with Mr Cook as confectioner, his son Thomas as assistant confectioner and his son's wife Martha and their two children all helping out.

Martha would probably run the shop, while the two men made sufficient sweets to stock the shop and supply to other retailers.

The British nation is renowned for its very sweet tooth and tooth decay was recognised as a serious health problem just prior to World War I. In those days it was widely believed that sugar was a nourishing food and particularly the working class consumed large quantities.

Mr Cook ran a professional commercial scale business but many Black Country sweets makers worked part-time operating on a humbler scale making simple sweets by boiling up sugar in a saucepan over the grate in the brew ‘us. Their produce helped supplement the family income and was either sold on a market stall or from jars in the front room window of their homes.

The skill of sugar boiling has been revived in Mr Cook’s shop at the Museum where you can experience the tastes, the smells and the shapes of the Black Country ‘suck’ with many old favourites like pear drops, acid drops and troach sweets.

 

Information Sheets

To help you make the most of your visit you can download an exhibit information sheet.  These are especially useful for customers who may have hearing impediments. 

Download here: T. Cook’s Sweet Shop (PDF 888kB)

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