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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Samuel Parkinson

Butterscotch, the word, was first recorded in Doncaster, where Samuel Parkinson began making it in 1817. It was one of the highlights of race week, to buy a tin of Parkinson's Butterscotch, which also had the royal seal.
Doncaster Butterscotch tin
Parkinson's shop was called Capo, or Upstairs Downstairs at 50 High Street in Doncaster. This Grade II listed Georgian shop was vacated by Parkinson's in 1960 and was restored and brought back into use in 1976.

S Parkinson & Son (Doncaster) Ltd was established by Samuel Parkinson, confectioner, grocer and tea dealer, in High Street Doncaster in the early nineteenth century. The Parkinson family connection ceased in 1893 on the sale of the business to Samuel Balmforth and a sleeping partner. Incorporation as a limited company followed in 1912.

Thereafter the main emphasis of the business was on the manufacture of confectionery which had begun in the mid-ninteenth century with the production of baking powder and the firm's best known product, Parkinson's Doncaster Butterscotch.

Pioneer of the Handbag

In 1841 Samuel Parkinson ordered a set of travelling cases and trunks from a London-based trunk maker H.J. Cave, and insisted on a travelling case or bag for his wife's particulars. Parkinson had noticed his wife's purse was too small and made from material that would not withstand the journey. He stipulated that he required a variety of hand bags for his wife, varying in size for different occasions, and asked that they be made from the same leather that was being used for his cases and trunks. Cave obliged and produced the first modern set of luxury handbags, as we would recognise them today, including a clutch and a tote (named as 'ladies travelling case'). These are now on display in the handbag museum in Amsterdam.

In 1961 Parkinson's Confectionary company was acquired by the Hollands Confectionery Group which was itself taken over by the Cavenham Food Group in 1965. The business ceased production in 1977, and the surviving records were then transferred to the Archives Department.

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