Fry's Five Boys

Any readers under the age of 50 may (or may not) be intrigued to know that Five Boys was a chocolate bar made and marketed by J. S. Fry & Sons Ltd., of Bristol, between 1902 and 1976. The wrapper – and, at least in later versions, the chocolate itself – showed five pictures, each showing a boy in one of those five stages of anxiety and/or pleasure, as the prospect of receiving the sweet treat goes from extremely remote to (as the last caption says) realisation.

It was actually the same boy in each picture: Lindsay Poulton, who was five years old in 1885 when the photographs were taken by his father and grandfather. They were bought by Fry's for £200 – a tidy sum in those days.

J. S. Fry & Sons was founded as long ago as 1759 by a family of Quakers. Many similar companies (including Cadbury's) were started by Quakers – partly because the movement was founded as a protest against the established Church and its members were not welcomed into the professions, and also partly because the Quakers saw chocolate as source of gastronomic pleasure that might lure consumers away from the evils of alcohol. Fry's was taken over by Kraft Foods in 2010; its factory in Somerdale, Keynsham, near Bristol, was closed a year later and production was moved to a factory in Poland.

This blog has a well–researched and well–written article on Five Boys and the company that produced it.

Another eminently quizzable fact about J. S. Fry & Sons is that their Chocolate Cream is the world's oldest chocolate bar. It was launched in 1866 as a reworking of Fry's Cream Stick, which was first produced in 1853.

© Haydn Thompson 2020