- Circa 1759 — Joseph Fry, a Quaker, starts making chocolate
- 1761 — Joseph Fry and John Vaughan purchase the chocolate business of Walter Churchman. Company named Fry, Vaughan & Co.
- 1777 — Chocolate works move from Newgate Street to Union Street, Bristol
- 1787 — Joseph Fry dies. Firm is renamed Anna Fry & Son
- 1795 — Joseph Storrs Fry assumes control. He patents a method of grinding cocoa beans using a Watt steam engine. As a result factory techniques are introduced into the cocoa business.
- 1803 — Anna Fry dies and Joseph Storrs Fry partners with a Dr. Hunt. The business is renamed Fry & Hunt
- 1822 — Dr. Hunt retires and Joseph Storrs Fry takes on his sons Joseph, Francis and Richard as partners: the firm is renamed J. S. Fry & Sons. The company becomes the largest commercial producer of chocolate in Britain.
- 1835 — Joseph Storrs Fry dies and the sons take full control.
An employee of Fry's, H.J Packer went on in 1881 to establish his own chocolate business in Bristol. At its eventual home in Greenbank, Bristol, Packer's Chocolate would continue to provide local competition for Fry's which would continue until 2006 under various owners and brands, from Bonds through to Famous Names and Elizabeth Shaw.
Somerdale Factory, Keynsham
Near the start of World War I the company was one of the largest employers in Bristol. Joseph Storrs Fry II died in 1913. By 1919 the company merged with Cadbury's chocolate and the joint company named British Cocoa and Chocolate Company. Under Egbert Cadbury the Fry's division began the move to Somerdale, Keynsham in 1923. After 1981 the name Fry's was no longer in use at Somerdale, but the factory was still a major producer of Cadbury's products.
On 3 October 2007, Cadbury announced plans to close the Somerdale plant, the historic home of the Fry's Factory, by 2010 with the loss of some 500 jobs. In an effort to maintain competitiveness in a global marketplace, production would be moved to a new factory in Poland. Another motivational factor was the high real estate value of the land. Labour MP for Wansdyke, Dan Norris said "news of the factory's closure is a hard and heavy blow, not just to the workforce, but to the Keynsham community as a whole".
In February 2010, following the takeover of Cadbury plc by Kraft Foods, the closure was confirmed to take place in 2011. In the longer term it is likely the greenfield site will be re-classified and provide Keynsham with additional housing.
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