Teddy Gray's
July 21, 2014 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory is a short and sweet documentary by Martin Parr about a traditionally owned and run confectionery factory in the British Midlands. [via kottke]
posted by carter (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
That was excellent.
posted by parki at 9:48 PM on July 21, 2014

that place has hell of saucy calendars.
posted by boo_radley at 9:48 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yay! I hadn't been able to find this so am glad to see it again.

If you clicked on this link and thought "oh no, this is twenty minutes long!" I have a few tips:

1. It is worth it.
2. If you still don't think it is worth it skip to 15:30 and watch 'til about 17:45. It's probably my two-ish favorite minutes on the internet. So mesmerizing. So wonderful.

Only Martin Parr, man, only Martin Parr.
posted by ztdavis at 9:49 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

That was excellent, thanks.

I loved it when she said "I haven't told him I'm 70", watch it just for that line.
posted by Long Way To Go at 10:16 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Goodness, this was wonderful.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:50 PM on July 21, 2014

I found the footage of the candy making very relaxing. Now I'm thinking of seeking out a long version of just quiet old-fashioned candy making in the style of Mr. Roger's tours a factory. Granted it's a little less relaxing, than say watching crayons being made, as I am irritated no one told me about this place when I was visiting family, but still, quite lovely.
posted by dawg-proud at 10:59 PM on July 21, 2014

I'd never seen lettered rock candy before and that part blew my mind. And now I want to have another wedding so I can give out personalized lettered rock candy as favors.
posted by girlhacker at 11:05 PM on July 21, 2014

Amazing how few of the food handlers wore gloves.
posted by Cranberry at 11:22 PM on July 21, 2014

I've known about the way you get the letters in rock since I saw it demonstrated at a seaside town when I was little, and I'm glad that wedding and promotional rock helps keeps the craft going, because I'm pretty sure parents now know a stick of rock equals a trip to the dentist.

There's been a revival of interest in traditional sweets, partly because sweet shops were feared to be on the decline, partly by twee reimaginings like Hope and Greenwood, and partly because you can order a quarter of liquorice comforts or acid drops online.

It's still a very regional business, with the kind of loyalties that often come from childhood, and change is resisted on all sides. Completely Martin Parr territory.

I suppose someone will note that they had a FSA recall last year because of a "possible rodent infestation", so I'll be that someone. I may also be blamed for passing on the link, having read this comment in the green.
posted by holgate at 12:56 AM on July 22, 2014

I live just a block away from Teddy Gray's! The smell of sweets being made is amazing and not overwhelming at all (except on days they do anything with banana, which is pretty rare). This company has some very racy calendars that make Pirelli look modest. Come to Dudley, I'll show you.
posted by parmanparman at 2:49 AM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I suppose wearing gloves may be pointless when you consider the bacteria demolishing properties of sugar. I really admired the cavalier way they worked with molten sugar. I wish I was that fearless. Wow, what a great film! If I ever go to England, I'm going to move heaven and earth to visit this factory.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:53 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

UK food hygiene training discourages the use of gloves, preferring instead clean hands. The idea being with gloves on, you don't know when your gloves are dirty, but with hands you tend to know when you need to wash them.
posted by sagwalla at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2014

If we are doing local, family owned sweets and biscuits, in particular teacakes, can i put in a link for Tunnocks which every one in the local town ( Uddingston ) has a relative working in. Packaging which inspires other designers designers and may feature in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony tomorrow.
posted by stuartmm at 5:26 AM on July 22, 2014

The history section on their website is a little odd. It has the company being founded by a John Gray in 1826, and then his son Teddy Gray taking over from his father in the 1920s. This seems unlikely!
posted by tavella at 6:58 AM on July 22, 2014

And suddenly I am a small child again, in the endless Midland summers that only exist in old books, walking down Squirrel lane with my grandmother, passed the steam railway, passed castle walk, to the High Street, just so she could buy me and my sibling humbugs and lemon sherbets in shop with a marble counter.
It was not Teddy Gray's, at least I do not think so, it was not Dudley, but I know exactly that kind of middle England that will never change.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 7:10 AM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I love the fact that the newbie van driver has been there 38 years. Boy howdy was that storefront bleak-looking.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:14 AM on July 22, 2014

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