My holiday appetite or trivia is being satisfied by the The Third QI Book of General Ignorance, a Christmas present from Mrs P. It’s full of things I didn’t know I didn’t know and it is only fair to share a morsel or two.
Such as jelly babies, those sweets adored by children of all ages which are made by Bassett’s of Sheffield. I didn’t know that they were originally called ‘Peace Babies’ when they were made to mark the armistice at the end of the First World War.
But before Yorkshire Pudding gets carried away by claiming jelly babies for the White Rose county, I have to point out that they were modelled on sweets made in 1864 by the Lancashire confectioner Fryer’s. They were not quite the same commercial success, perhaps because of they then went under the rather disturbing name of ‘Unclaimed Babies’.
Of course, Bassett’s are also responsible for churning out 14 million Liquorice Allsorts every day and liquorice sweets also have a history of grim names and shapes, such as ‘Kelly-in-a-Coffin’, a sugar baby in a tiny casket, and another from 1895 called a ‘Hangman’s Noose’.
Not very appetising for adults, but I bet the kids loved them.