November, 2016


We hear from a former worker of the Terry’s Chocolate Factory in York

Westwood Park

The world famous chocolate empire of Terry’s has left a strong legacy in York and a strong affection amongst many former workers.

Former employee Liz Calpin vividly remembers walking through the distinctive gates onto the vast Bishopsthorpe Road site for the first time as a 15-year-old girl ready to start work as a Junior Clerk.

Recalling her first impressions Liz said: “I worked in the administration building with its grand staircase and glass dome and I felt very grown up.”

She eventually clocked up ten happy years at Terry’s in total, only leaving in 1976 upon the birth of her first child. Such is the pull of the iconic site, Liz and her husband Ray are now back – this time living in one of the luxury apartments in the converted Factory Building.

Liz explains: “I loved my time at Terry’s, although to be honest in the beginning it was just somewhere I went in the day that funded my social life! I loved dancing! Ray and I met at the Court School of Dancing.

Even though I left forty years ago I have always kept strong links with Terry’s. There was a group of five of us who worked together and we have remained very close friends, still meeting every six weeks or so.

And since it closed it was one of our favourite places to walk. We’d park on the road and walk across the Knavesmire. It was so sad to see the building empty and starting to decay.”

The couple lived in a three bedroom detached house and with Ray now retired from the teaching profession they had already been considering downsizing when plans to convert the Art Decor Factory Building into apartments was announced.

Liz said: “We’d looked at the new build apartments at the front of the site and knew they weren’t for us, but when we went to the P J Livesey launch day and looked at the properties at The Residence we both looked at each other and smiled.

We knew we could happily live here. The whole development is beautiful and the views are stunning.

We had our house on the market but when it did not sell straight away we took good advice and decided to use it to raise the extra money we needed and then rent it out. It all worked out perfectly.”

The couple bought a two-bedroom mezzanine apartment on the third floor at the back of the building with a wide terrace overlooking the racecourse and towards the River Ouse.

Liz said: “The living, dining area is actually bigger than within our previous house and the open plan kitchen has everything you could possibly want. We plan to buy new furniture for the balcony as it is easily big enough to sit out and enjoy the view – it was quite spectacular on bonfire night!

We love coming through the gates and driving up the boulevard and the lobby feels like a 5* hotel and it is beautifully kept. The P J Livesey ethos is obviously to develop something to be classically Beautiful and maintain the high standard. It really does tick all the boxes and the grand children Lyla and Zak love coming to visit.

I only actually worked in The Factory building itself for two memorable weeks when the dispatch lady was on holiday, but our son-in-law spent summers working for Terry’s and actually remembers working on the third floor. We cannot wait for him to come and see the transformation. People are fascinated by the building, it is such a landmark symbol for York and everyone wants to see what it has now become.

We’ve only been here a matter of weeks but it already feels very much like home – a place of happy memories.”

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