The Prince of Wales paid his first ever official visit to Wigan in April 2019.
We were very excited to be welcoming His Royal Highness not only to Wigan but to our Historic Factory which will be celebrating its 100th Birthday!
His Royal Highness arrived into Wigan on Wednesday 3rd April, dropping in on three very different but equally high-profile institutions: Our Historic Factory – The Toffee Works, The Old Courts & Wigan Little Theatre.
The foundations of this visit may have been laid as long ago as 2012 when our co-director John Winnard was presented with his MBE (Mint Ball Executive badge as he jokingly calls his royal honour for services to the food industry) at Buckingham Palace. He said: “I received my medal from the Prince and, because I didn’t think he knew anything about my business, I said our factory made boiled sweets, pear drops and so on; but he had clearly been better briefed than that and said ‘I believe you are famous for a particular sweet,’ and so we got on talking about Mint Balls and how the company dates back to 1898 and my brother Antony and I were fourth generation family members running it. “He said he loves old factories, especially ones with original equipment, so the next day I wrote a tentative letter inviting him to see us if he was ever in the vicinity.
“We received a very nice reply kindly declining it and we thought nothing more of it until the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester’s office rang recently to say Prince Charles would very much like to attend, so it looks like patience was rewarded. “It’s great timing too because the factory is celebrating its 100th birthday this year – although we have updated some of the equipment he so likes since that MBE conversation!
The day was a great success with HRH Prince Charles unveiling the new plaque commemorating 100 years at the Toffee Works! Anita Taulty our Manager says “We are beyond proud and honoured that we were chosen as one of the businesses that HRH visited. He was especially interested in our traditional manufacturing processes and spent much of his time asking staff about their different roles in the production of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls. What a great way to celebrate 100 Years at the Toffee Works!”
Take a look below at some of the pictures from the day.