How We Started

  • Norman and Joseph Thornton Norman and Stanley Thornton.
  • The original Chocolate Kabin The first Chocolate Kabin opened in Sheffield in 1911, this shot from the 1920s shows us advertising our Special Toffee.
  • An early Thorntons factory One of our early factory production lines.
  • Thorton's famous special toffee Thornton's famous Special Toffee, created by Stanley in 1925.
  • An early Thornton's shop An ealry Thornton's shop.
  • Award Winners We have been winning awards throughout the decades.

The very first Thorntons Chocolate Kabin was opened in October 1911 in Sheffield by travelling confectioner Joseph William Thornton.

Joseph then handed the keys to his sons Norman and Stanley, 14 and 11 at the time and told them to make it the best sweet shop in town... they didn't do a bad job did they?

One of Thorntons most famous products is Special Toffee, this was created by Stanley in 1925. It became so popular that it soon made up half of the total sales and became the company's best known product for the next 50 years. It was often referred to as the fuel for the steel workers in the city.

This product was the engine that drove the business for many years and in many people's minds the words ‘Thorntons' and ‘Toffee' became synonymous. Stanley's recipe is still used today.

In the 1980s Thorntons toffee chopping competitions took place around the country to find the toffee chopping champion. It was a competition to find the fastest person to chop slabs of Special Toffee with hammers. Some of the original toffee hammers can still be found in Thorntons factory.

With business booming in 1931 Norman and Stanley Thornton left the Penistone Road Factory and moved to premises on Stalker Lees Road in Sheffield, where they purchased their first Enrober for £175. It was here that the brothers first made their Chocolate Truffles by hand, as well as candies, fudge and crystallised fondants.

In 1934 the brothers built a purpose built factory on Archer Road, Sheffield. By this time the company employed around 40 people in the factory, 40 in the shops and two in the office. Thorntons moved from Sheffield to Derbyshire in 1948 when they bought a factory in Belper for £8400 after seeing an advert for it in the local paper.

As the business grew and grew they then needed a larger site so moved to Thornton Park in Derbyshire, which was opened by The Queen and remains our home today.